Volunteers team up to transform disabled Pinellas veteran's home

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Air Force veteran Joe Bournival watched on Friday as dozens of volunteers used their day off to help end the mobility issues plaguing his South Pasadena home. 

Bournival served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969 as a military police officer. He was later stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. In the time following his military service, Bournival has battled health concerns that have forced him to spend countless hours in the VA hospital.

The veteran is now utilizing a walker or wheelchair frequently, forcing Bournival to deal with mobility issues inside of his home. The existing hallways were not wide enough for his wheelchair to pass, and his bathroom was nearly impossible for him to use. 

"It’s great and I want to thank everyone for being here," he said. "Without the help, my life wouldn’t be able to move on easily."

More than 50 members of Volunteers of America of Florida worked with The Home Depot Foundation to transform Bournival's home into an ADA-compliant space including an expanded hallway and renovated bathroom. The changes will allow the veteran to get around his home more easily and live in comfort moving forward. 

According to Volunteers of America of Florida, the nonprofit not only helps veterans with critical home repair, but also provides housing for underprivileged Veterans across the state of Florida. 

“We go to veterans in the community who are physically and financially unable to do home repairs and we go win and we just transform," explained Wendy Whitescarver with the organization. "We make it so that a veteran can live in their Home and age in place in comfort just like you were I would want. It’s priceless the work we’re doing.” 

Bournival thanked the volunteers for helping him be able to stay in his home.

“We’re giving him the dignity and respect and sense of peace that is just, it’s priceless," Whitescarver said. 

The Home Depot Foundation has a long-standing partnership with VOAFL, helping ensure that veterans have a safe, clean and improved space to acclimate to civilian life. In addition to the hallway and bathroom renovations, volunteers also replaced Bournival's refrigerator, closet doors, kitchen cabinets, and water heater door. 

LINK: Learn more about these organizations by visiting The Home Depot Foundation website and Volunteers of America of Florida's website.