Home Donors, Volunteers Organizations Volunteers needed to clear debris from veteran's dilapidated house – Mansfield News Journal

Volunteers needed to clear debris from veteran's dilapidated house – Mansfield News Journal

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Lou Whitmire
 
| Mansfield News Journal

MANSFIELD – Mansfield veteran Ron Bigelow will be getting his childhood home demolished and rebuilt, with cleanup of the dilapidated house scheduled this month.

“The Ron Project” project is being organized by Love Our Hero’s in Bellville and made possible with many donations of money and or materials including tresses, windows, siding and footers.

This month, volunteers are needed for cleaning out what remains of the shell of his house.

Volunteers are asked to go to Love Our Hero’s Facebook page and sign up. Volunteers are asked to bring scoop shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows to the site on Jan. 29, 30 and 31. Volunteers, who must be age 18 and older, are asked to dress warm as the house has no electric or heat. Boots are recommended.

Project Manager Gina Stillion said on the organization’s Facebook page that the initial work will require heavy lifting and shoveling of debris. She said there will be plenty of other opportunities to help with the project “so if Phase I isn’t for you, keep watching for updates and new phases of work to volunteer.”

“We’re doing this step by step and building from the ground up,” Oyster said.

Even the demolition is being donated. The donors list to date includes: Alumni Roofing, Appletree Cabinet, Ben Hart Builders, JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, Sunbelt Rental, G & G Enterprises Complete Excavating Service LLC, Eight Days of Hope, Newville Church and siding by an anonymous donor.

Oyster said some trees on the wooded lot have been cut down to make way for construction. 

“We have donations of $2,000 so far but we still need monetary donations,” she said.

Bigelow’s house will be a two-bedroom, vinyl house with a crawl space underneath.

What remains of the shell of his parents’ house, built in 1938 on the city’s north end, is beyond repair. The horse-hair plaster is separating from the lath. The floors are sketchy and the front porch is ready to cave in. There is only a wood-burning stove for heat. Bigelow said he fixed the plumbing as best he could over the years.

“Raccoons started the damage and then the rain finished it,” he said earlier, pointing to a hole in the roof where raccoons climbed in the living room.

His parents, Dallas and Shirley Jean Bigelow, raised four children in the modest three-bedroom home. His dad, who came from Kentucky to Mansfield to find work, died in 1994 in his sleep. His mom died in 2002 from a terminal illness.

The friendly man, who loves cats, graduated from Mansfield Senior High School at age 17 and took a year off before enlisting in the Army since he had a part-time job and was too young.

He served in the Army from 1983 to 1989, completing basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, before going to Fort McClellan in Alabama. He then he served in Germany for 18 months in Giessen, where missions took him to countries including Spain, France, London and Thailand. He returned to the United States to serve at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He also served as a combat veteran during the Liberation of Grenada.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to “The Ron Project” is asked to send checks to Love Our Hero’s, P.O. Box 547, Bellville, OH 44813 or send donations using Pay Love Our Heros using PayPal.Me

Oyster said Bigelow, 55, is residing in a trailer park in a mobile home provided to him by Love Our Hero’s.

“When Ron moves in his house, he is donating the trailer back to us to give to another veteran,” she said.

lwhitmir@gannett.com

419-521-7223

Twitter: @LWhitmir

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