Volunteers help repair veteran's N. Augusta home

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When Leonard and Sharon Sarbin woke up Satur­day, their yard was overgrown with vegetation.

Paul South (top) and Michael Chastain work  on Leonard and Sharon Sarbin's home in North Augusta. The two were volunteering as part of Wells Fargo's second annual Community Service Su­per Saturday.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Paul South (top) and Michael Chastain work on Leonard and Sharon Sarbin's home in North Augusta. The two were volunteering as part of Wells Fargo's second annual Community Service Su­per Saturday.

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.

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Bobbie 920
Bobbie 920 06/23/12 - 08:25 pm
Bless All

Bless everyone involved in this project. It is so wonderful to know good deeds are being done in such ways as this. People working togeather, helping inprove life for others.

itsanotherday1 06/24/12 - 09:02 am
THIS is the America I know

THIS is the America I know and love; people helping people without nanny politicians involved. A huge salute to all of the Wells Fargo folks that made this happen.

positiveoutlook 06/24/12 - 02:11 pm
Well Done!!

What a wonderful moment of true brotherly love and reciprocal service to country and community. Thanks to the Wells Fargo volunteers, various community and business members, and the volunteers from the Sarbins' church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for setting such a great example to follow.

corgimom 06/24/12 - 09:33 pm
Just wondering- how is it

Just wondering- how is it that people that aren't licensed able to do these kinds of major repairs? There are laws that say only licensed plumbers are able to do certain things, only licensed electricians can do certain things, only licensed contractors can only do certain things, etc. How do bank employees get to circumvent these laws?

And while the concept sounds wonderful, I wouldn't want bank employees doing major repairs on my home. Even things like painting a house requires skill and experience to do it correctly and for the job to last, and you don't get that skill and experience by working in a bank.

It would be nice if the AC could explain this, it's something I've always wondered about.

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