HUDSON — A veteran and his wife received an early Christmas present, courtesy of members of the Home Builders Association Serving Portage & Summit Counties (HBA).
Jim Mulroy and his wife Carolyn have lived in a two-story colonial home in the city for 47 years. Jim Mulroy served in the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1960, and was assigned to the Cargo Handling Battalion, known as the CBs, delivering food to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.
Jim Mulroy was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and is no longer able to climb the stairs in his home. Peter Paino, owner of Kent-based Paino Associates Architects & Builders, organized a group of about 50 workers in the HBA to build a 16-foot by 30-foot addition that provides a bedroom and a handicapped-accessible bathroom on the first floor. An exterior access ramp was also installed. The completion of the project will allow the Mulroys to continue living in their home, according to Sharon Gillberg, an HBA spokesperson.
Paino noted a project such as this typically takes about three months to finish, but since there was an immediate need, Paino decided to contact subcontractors, suppliers and others to see if they could pitch in and complete the addition on a faster time table.
“I just made the decision that we’d try to do it in three weeks,” said Paino. “I put a little schedule together…[and] had help from all the people who participated as far as doing work.” Thanks to good weather and plenty of workers and volunteers showing up each day, Paino said the project was finished in early November in the three-week time frame. He added the building department performed inspections quickly, too.
Gillberg noted laborers from about 25 different companies throughout the region participated in the upgrade of the home by contributing labor, materials and time.
Carolyn Mulroy called the project “amazing,” and “wonderful.”
“[Recently] we had a hole in the ground,” said Carolyn Mulroy. “[Now] we have a building standing out there. It’s like watching a film in fast forward. I would like everybody to know how much we appreciate the HBA.”
Carolyn Mulroy said that having the first-floor living arrangement will “make a big difference” for her and Jim. She said she and Jim selected Paino’s company from a list that was provided to them by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and noted, “we were lucky.”
Carolyn Mulroy said that Paino handled all of the logistics such as supervising the crews, organizing the project and garnering the necessary approvals for the work.
Audra Monschein at the VA “fast-tracked the project,” said Gillberg.
“[Paino] went way above what he had to do,” said Carolyn Mulroy, who shared that Jim said, “you wouldn’t get every contractor to do what [Paino] did.”
Paino said the VA has a “pretty substantial” grant that pays for the “majority of the cost” for renovations at veterans’ homes that make the structures more accessible. The remaining expense is covered by the home owner. Gillberg said the VA serves as an “intermediary” between the homeowner and the contractor. She added Paino’s company is one of the firms that the VA works with on these types of projects.
Paino noted he received help from multiple companies throughout the area.
“Everybody chipped in,” said Paino. “It was …a lot of people just rearranging their schedules [and] taking the time to do it. A lot of our members volunteered their time …It’s kind of a little community project.”
Carolyn Mulroy offered high praise to everyone who worked on the project. She noted they worked on Saturdays and some Sundays to meet the tight timeline.
“They did it in such a short time,” said Carolyn Mulroy. “Things like that just don’t happen, but they were really great.”
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.