|House of Heroes: 'Biggest blessing I have ever had'
Source: Rachel Watkins
House of Heroes: ‘Biggest blessing I have
Benning Bayonet – 12 Sep 08
By THE BAYONET, Rachel L. Watkins
A team of about 30 NCOs with the 11th Engineer Battalion arrived at Lillian Hill’s Columbus home Sept. 4 with lawn mowers, tools, doors, new railings and paint. They were on a mission to help the widow of a veteran through House of Heroes, a nonprofit organization that repairs houses of retired military and public service veterans and their spouses.
In her early 20s, Buena Vista native Lillian met the late Louis Hill at Fort Benning. In her 25 years of marriage to him, she traveled to Germany, France, Chicago and Maryland. After Louis retired as a sergeant first class, the couple settled in Columbus.
It’s been five years since Louis died.
“I miss him keeping things straight around the house,” Lillian said. “He was a handyman.”
Whether it was house repairs, yard work or car work, Louis did it.
But now, the grass has grown tall, the leaves have collected in the gutter and miscellaneous items — chairs, plywood and an old lawn mower — are scattered on the carport, and the trim on the house was faded.
The 11th Engineer Battalion cleared out the carport, mowed the lawn, painted the house trim, installed a new door and porch railing and cleaned out the gutters.
“House of Heroes is the biggest blessing I have ever had,” Lillian said. “I am so thankful because there are some repairs I can’t do on my own.”
Veterans and their families deserve the help, said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Batista of the 11th Engineer Battalion.
“Veterans are the foundation of America,” Batista said. “They sacrificed so much so we could have our freedom and they deserve thanks for all of their hard work.”
No matter what generation, the Army is one big family, it’s important to stick together, Batista said.
House of Heroes has repaired 275 houses since November 1999. Throughout September, volunteers will repair as many as 45 houses. For more information, to volunteer or to apply for help, go to http://www.houseofheroes.org.
Caption: Rachel L. Watkins Lillian Hill, widow of the late retired Sgt. 1st Class Louis Hill, poses in front of her carport. More than 30 NCOs with the 11th Engineer Battalion came to her house to pressure wash, clean the gutters, clean out the carport, and install new railings and doors. The work was done through House of Heroes, a nonprofit organization that repairs houses of retired military and public service veterans and their spouses. “House of Heroes is the biggest blessing I have ever had,” Lillian said. “I am so thankful because there are some repairs I can’t do on my own.”