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Volunteers to make a difference on Tyler Street

Date: 4/5/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to make a major improvement in the lives of residents on Tyler Street in the Old Hill neighborhood, 1,000 volunteers will undertake tasks at 25 homes as part of Rebuilding Together's annual effort on April 27.

"Day by day, block by block, that's how we revitalize a neighborhood," Colleen Loveless, the executive director of the Springfield affiliate of the national organization, said. This will be the 21st local participation of the national effort.

Loveless explained the organization performs free critical repairs to the homes of low-income families with children, elderly disables and military veterans.

The theme of this year's effort Loveless said is "Green and Fit," which means improving the energy efficiency of the homes as well as making them healthier for the residents.

Loveless said the intense focus on Tyler Street and the number of homes scheduled to be improved in one day is "a daunting task" and she thanked the volunteers — which include the Youth Build program of the TWCA — and the sponsors of the event. Those sponsors include MassMutual Financial Group, Hampden Bank, TD Bank, N Riley Construction, Yankee Candle Company, Kitchens by Curio, Sears "Heroes at Home," Berkshire Bank, Trinity United Methodist Church, Faith United Church, Verizon Wireless, Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, A-Plus HVAC, New Hope Regional Methodist Ministry, Sherwin Williams, Rocky's Ace Hardware, Columbia Gas, Home Builders Association of Western MA. and Lowe's Home Improvement.

Loveless added that HAPHousing would be sponsoring the creation of a community garden, while Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will focus on renovating a playground. TD Bank will be hosting a cookout at the end of the day for the volunteers.

The volunteers will perform such tasks as installing new roofs, deadbolt locks, and energy efficient windows. They will be painting homes, making electrical and plumbing repairs, working on vinyl siding, fencing and ramps. Yard cleanups, landscaping and the planting of shrubs and flowers will also be undertaken.

Among the homeowners receiving assistance are Oscar and Carol Granado. Oscar, a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, is still working at age 72 because of the couple's need for adequate health insurance. In October 2012, Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Carol Granado said, "I'm just thankful the program is coming through here and helping us and our neighbors."

Her husband added while looking toward the sky, "This is a miracle from up there."

For more information on sponsorship and volunteering opportunities, go to