None of the sinks worked. Their toilet was broken. Their shed was overrun by unneeded items.
Within hours, more than 50 volunteers descended on the Air Force veteran’s home and transformed it in a way that he is unable to do for himself.
The project was part of Wells Fargo’s second annual Community Service Super Saturday. Nearly 600 employees across Georgia and in some areas of South Carolina and Alabama volunteered to help out in their communities.
In the Augusta area, 10 volunteers manned a booth at the Augusta Pride festival, 20 helped Habitat for Humanity build a new home on Walton Way, and nearly 40 helped repair the Sarbins’ home.
“We wanted to do something veteran-related,” said Wells Fargo district manager Scott Carpenter. “Fort Gordon’s an important part of the community, we’re an important part of the community, and we want to make sure those are coming together.”
The project was spearheaded by House of Heroes, a nonprofit based in Columbus, Ga., dedicated to honoring veterans and their spouses through home repairs. Repairs are free for all military and public safety veterans and their families. The only requirements for help is that the recipient be honorably discharged and own their home. Income is not a consideration.
Sarbin was chosen to receive help after a fellow church member recommended him.
Sarbin said he and his wife were always do-it-yourselfers, but for the past eight years he’s been unable to do much because of seven degenerated discs in his back.
“I feel very uncomfortable with all this help going on,” he said. “(But) I’m really completely grateful.”
The septic tank the Sarbins put in when they moved into the home 38 years ago broke during installation. They didn’t find out it was damaged until a few years ago, but they weren’t able to do anything about it.
None of the sinks in the house had worked in “quite a while,” Sarbin said. They used the bathtub instead.
The volunteers spent one day and $10,000 repairing the home and property.
They cleared the land, cut limbs from trees, fixed the plumbing, replaced the septic tank, repainted the house, cleaned out and built shelving in the shed and installed a fence around the swimming pool.
Materials for a new roof have been ordered and paid for, and volunteers will return another day to install it.
Sarbin was thanked for his service and presented with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. A flagpole was installed on a tree in his front yard.
Sarbin, who had to pause several times during his speech because he got choked up, told the volunteers that he had prayed God would heal his back so he could do the work around his house.
“I just want to say that instead of doing what I expected him to do, he sent all of you angels,” Sarbin said.