House of Heroes repairs Army widow's home
June 6, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 6, 2012) -- Working with the House of Heroes, TIYA Support Services from Fort Benning and other volunteers came out Saturday to do repair work on the house of 98-year-old Phyllis Rosiak.
Phyllis Rosiak is the widow of Sgt. 1st Class Henry Rosiak, who served 30 years in the military. He retired while stationed at Fort Benning. Henry Rosiak died in 2000, and Phyllis Rosiak has lived at their house since with the help of her neighbor, Ella Brown.
The relationship between Rosiak and Brown started about 10 years ago, when Brown would help take her to the commissary. However, one day, when the two were supposed to go to the commissary, Rosiak didn't answer her phone. Worried, the police entered the house to find Rosiak had been on the floor of her kitchen for four days without food or water -- her dog lay beside her dead.
After the experience, Rosiak went through observation and a 90-day stay at a nursing home.
"Ms. Phyllis had asked me not to let them take her to a nursing home because she didn't have any family here," Brown said. "She (said to) me, 'Please Ella, whatever you do don't let them take me to a nursing home.' And ever since then I've been taking care of Phyllis. She can't do anything for herself."
Brown said she was grateful to the House of Heroes and volunteers. With a full-time job and acting as a caregiver, they helped do things Brown couldn't do, such as removing stained carpet from a room.
Dan McMichael, team captain and buildings and structures branch chief for TIYA at Fort Benning, said they were able to accomplish a number of repairs on the house.
The group spent nine hours removing a 70- to 80-foot-tall pine tree that had fallen in the front yard, grinding around two dozen stumps, fixing leaks in the roof, cleaning out the garage, replacing kitchen lights and faucets, planting 10 azalea bushes, taking out old and musty carpet from two rooms, making repairs to sheetrock and doing other repairs.
House of Heroes is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping veterans, or their spouses, in times of need. HOH helps those who are disabled, on fixed incomes, or face other physical or financial challenges that prevent them from making repairs to their homes.
For more information on how to get involved with House of Heroes, visit www.houseofheroes.org.