We recently partnered with volunteers from Spectrum to provide much-needed home repairs for Rose in Rochester. Rose raised her family in her home, and now, she looks after three her grandkids part-time after school and occasionally on the weekends. Rose’s home is the gathering place for most family holidays. Unfortunately, due to her age and limited mobility, Rose is unable to get around to do general maintenance and yard work. As a result, she does not have the same pride in her home that she did before her husband died.

Thanks to the hard work of the volunteers from Spectrum, we were able to landscape around the house to reduce water seeping into the basement; landscape under the fence for maintenance-free fencing; level, shore up, and paint the shed; create an entry system for Rose’s pool so she can safely use it with her grandkids; and more!

In her thank you letter, Rose wrote:

“Several years ago, I was notified that Rebuilding Together was teaming up with Spectrum in my area (Rochester, MN) to provide homeowners with free home safety kits. I picked up a box and was curious about a group/company that would give away quality items. I learned that it was a group of volunteers who wanted to help homeowners safely maintain their homes. While I made good use of the items in the box, I filed away the packet of information about Rebuilding and Spectrum working together. I just didn’t think that kind of repair and rebuilding for existing homes was available. I was a bit skeptical.

Earlier this year, my local paper had an article about Rebuilding being willing to help those homeowners who applied. I needed some landscaping, painting and access improvements, and I had been working around those issues for years. I was impressed with what I had read about Rebuilding, so, I decided to give it a try and filled out the necessary papers. In July of this year, I got a call from Tony Sjogren, telling me that I was being considered as one of the homeowners qualified for improvements. It was such good news and I was so hopeful because I was anxious about coming up with the funds necessary to pay for needed improvements. It was hard to wait, and so, I called Tony to see if I was “the one”. And he told me that I had been chosen by Rebuilding and Spectrum for home improvements. I felt honored and a big sense of relief (about costs).

I was so excited. September 8th was the date set aside for this work. I marked my calendar with a big exclamation point. As I waited, I wondered why I was so Blessed. I also realized that there were a lot of home improvements to make. I was still feeling like it was too good to be true; what if it rained, what if most of the volunteers couldn’t make it, what if I had to do it myself?
Several phone calls about paint and stain colors made me realize that this was happening! It dawned on me that even a handful of volunteers could get a lot done, I was getting so excited. Friends and family were forced to listen and listen again to the grand changes planned for my property.

On September 7th, a load of dirt and a load of mulch were delivered onto my driveway. Now I could only imagine how this would work. It was happening!

A tent was set up early on a sunny 70 degree Saturday morning, and by 8:30, volunteers wearing Spectrum Rebuilding Together t-shirts were assembled on my front lawn. I couldn’t believe so many would give up their day off to volunteer to help.

Standing in my front yard were over 35 people proving they cared, and proving that I am Blessed!

This huge group of workers were from Rebuilding, Twin Cities areas and from many different Spectrum locations, in Rochester but as far away as St. Cloud. Every one was a hard worker and, obviously, a beautiful giving person. Two local dignitaries also showed up and dug right in to help with the renovations.

Tasks were assigned, tools were grabbed and off they went. My only job was to answer questions, but I did walk around and see the hard work being done to change my yard and home. I was in awe of the cooperation and diligence. It was a lot of back-breaking labor. Even if I felt lazy, I was so proud to be even in the proximity of these truly fine people.

By 3:00, I had three new basement window wells and a landscaped yard that will keep the rain out of my basement. Two+ volunteers with incredible organizing skills went into my basement and organized and wow! they did an awesome job. A freezer and other damaged furniture were removed. Talented painters took over the bathroom and not only painted, but cleaned it from top to bottom (it was a very warm job). The blue wooden front of my house is now painted white, white spindles have been added to my porch railing, the front and back decks are stained. My garden shed is leveled, painted, pavers were laid to the entrance and the huge branches hanging over it have been removed. My sandbox is clearly defined with little sitting areas on each corner. There is new lattice on a level patio surround. And, I have an awesome set of stairs leading to a platform allowing me easier/safer access to my pool. The most eye-catching change, though, is the removal of all the weeds and trees that grew up along my fence and house, replaced by a plastic weed barrier and mulch. These men and women worked so hard to remove and relocate bushes (and bees), dig out tree roots (I hadn’t seen a pick ax in years), trimmed trees and fill low spots.

By 3:30, all the tools, coolers and tent, along with all the volunteers were gone, leaving me with a brand new (to me) house and yard. The only evidence of this group being here, was this awesome transformation.

I just sat down, said a prayer for the volunteers and was completely overwhelmed by the love I had been shown by so many.

After the tears, I locked up my house and drove away for 15 minutes, just so I could come back – see it new all over again. Not only does my house look incredible, but my faith in others has been restored. Thank you, everyone one of you for that gift. God Bless you!

My grandson told me that I have the nicest house on the block now. I agree!

Thank you Rebuilding and Spectrum. I am proud of you and so thankful for what you did for me. I hope I see you all again and to be able to pay it forward.

Whenever I think about that day, September 8, I can still see the volunteers standing in my front yard, ready to be assigned to a job, eager to start working. And as I told them that morning, I don’t remember their names, but I sure do remember how they made me feel!

Rose Siebenaler, Happiest Homeowner in Rochester, MN”