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Marine Vet's Home Goes from Uninhabitable to Livable Again Thanks to Kindness of Two Police Officers

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Elderly veterans are often overlooked members of society, especially when they are shut-ins or dealing with disabilities. Unless they have immediate friends or family who regularly check in on them, they tend to quietly fade from view.

But last weekend, a group of people made a concerted effort to let 67-year-old disabled Marine veteran Katheryn Baarson know she was seen.

In the 1970s, Baarson was an active-duty Marine, and after that, she joined the reserves. As time passed, she was less able to keep up with her home in Glendale, Arizona.

Baarson’s home had gone into a state of disrepair as it filled with pest damage and trash. She couldn’t clean it up on her own, and finding someone to help proved difficult.

“Oh, it’s overwhelming trying to get someone to cut the grass and everything,” she told KPNX-TV. “I used to do it all.

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“I got to the point I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Two local police officers noticed the state of the veteran’s home and put out the word.

Thanks to a number of organizations and willing volunteers, her property got a major facelift on Saturday, and the result was more than the veteran could have asked for.

The Boy Scouts got involved, too, thanks to Vance Cuthbertson, who used the opportunity as his Eagle Scout project.

“It takes a lot to serve our country, takes a lot to be in the military,” Cuthbertson said. “So when I have a chance to repay them for that by serving them, it’s really a great honor.”

The house got some new paint and the yard was scalped and replaced with rock and artificial grass — no more mowing to worry about.

“Very impressive morning!” Operation Enduring Gratitude posted on Saturday. “SO many people came together & gave it their all helping a Woman Marine Corps Veteran rebuild.”

“Operation Enduring Gratitude lead by Charlie Ellis had an amazing morning & turnout with several other orgs (Angels on Patrol, Veterans IV Veterans etc).

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“We’re grateful for the community support & outpouring. Thank you to all volunteers. You make great things possible.”

The group and an individual who was involved shared photos and video from the workday, showing a great turnout and eager hands tidying up the place.

“We had fun putting the finishing touches on our Marine Vet’s house today!” Lisa Nico posted.

“Thanks to Nina for the education in the nuances of plumbing! Operation Enduring Gratitude Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association Angels on Patrol Glendale Fire Department City of Glendale, Arizona – Government Boyscouts and many more all came out to make a difference in her life.”

Baarson was moved by the assistance, and her house is certainly a more comfortable place to live now.

“What I asked for was to clean up the backyard, the gates, and the fence to be fixed,” she said. “And they did like 100 times more.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking