A dozen Quinnipiac University students helped improve the life of an 85-year-old Korean War veteran from Shelton on Sept. 29.
The students who are part of adjunct professor Mary Beth Schreindorfer’s “physical activity and community service” course joined forces with members of House of Heroes Connecticut chapter to complete a major landscaping project on veteran Harold Welch’s overgrown property at 16 Suburban Drive.
Jenna Risko, a health science studies major from Naugatuck was one of the Quinnipiac students to lend Welch a helping hand. The group also included Stephen Bisaccia of Derby
“Seeing him, meeting him and doing a project such as this for him was truly exceptional,” Risko said. “I would do something like this again in a heartbeat. I cannot express my gratitude to our veterans using words, but when I saw the smile on his face while we were working, it was clear that the hard work we put into this project was the perfect way to express our feelings to Harold. I get excited thinking about how happy he was, not to mention how happy his neighbors were.”
Welch lost his wife in the past year and his yard had become a safety hazard.
“The front yard was a jungle,” Schreindorfer said. “You couldn’t even see the house from the road.”
The group was up to the task, doing yardwork and removing trees, debris, vines and old fencing.
“It was night and day,” Schreindorfer said. “When the gentleman came out of the house for the first time, his eyes just popped. He was amazed by the transformation. The kids were amazing. They were muddy, sweaty and exhausted. They put in a full day’s work. It was beautiful and very rewarding for them.”
Welch said he was overwhelmed by the work the group did.
“The people who came over here and helped clean up are the best thing you’ve got going at Quinnipiac,” he said. “They did a nice job and they worked really hard.”
Carol May, House of Heroes CT chairman, said her organization has helped 108 veterans since 2013. Quinnipiac students have volunteered their time at three houses and will help with another home in April.
House of Heroes Connecticut is a nonprofit organization that helps veterans stay safely in their own homes by completing one-day home repairs that make homes safe, accessible and sustainable for veterans, their spouses and or public service veterans.
“These kids worked so hard and they made such an amazing transformation to that yard,” May said. “They made so much of a difference that (Welch) was in tears. Our motto is, ‘Make a Difference in a Day,’ and the Quinnipiac students definitely did that for this veteran.”
The information was submitted by Quinnnipiac University.