Of the more than 16 million men and women who served in the American armed forces during World War II, it is estimated that approximately 1.4 million are alive today, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their average age is 90, and many struggle to maintain an independent life style.
Jacksonville resident and Army veteran Al Richman, 89, is one whose life has not been easy, and who, in recent years, has battled health problems and challenges of maintaining his home.
In March 1943, Richman was drafted into the U. S. Army. His Army record indicated he had been a janitor at a hospital prior to enlistment, and when his unit landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944, his commander pulled him out of the operation and assigned him to become a medic based on his “hospital experience.”
After two months of training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Richman returned to the battle front and followed American troops throughout Europe.
When the war was over, Richman returned to his home town, Miami. He became a grocery industry professional, working primarily in the trading stamp side of the business. He and his family eventually migrated to Jacksonville and made their home in the Arlington area.
Now, battling cancer and caring for his wife, Richman must make his limited income stretch to cover food, utilities, medications and the very basic needs of life. Home maintenance is a luxury he can’t afford. With a bathroom that was essentially non-functional and no resources, Richman’s family stepped in and asked Builders Care to repair the toilet.
Builders Care Executive Director Bill Wilson and board members Gene Rover, B&G Plumbing (chairman of the Builders Care board) and Shawn Griffith, Pillar Construction & Remodeling LLC, saw other repairs that needed to be made to the home, and the scope of the project was expanded to include updating the shower. Other NEFBA members joined the team, and the entire bathroom is receiving a makeover.
“Mr. Richman served his country, raised his children, contributed to the community and has been a good citizen of Jacksonville,” Griffith said. “He’s certainly deserving of a bathroom with working fixtures. Our hearts went out to him, and with the help and generosity of NEFBA members, we are able to upgrade his bathroom and make life a little better for him.”
Builders Care is especially grateful to the following companies for their contributions of labor and/or materials:
B&G Plumbing (plumbing supplies); Pillar Construction & Remodeling (labor and project managers); Florida Custom Marble (countertops); BeeTree Homes and Beach Trading Co. (bathroom vanity); Wholesale Tile (tiles for floor and shower); Southern Pride (painting); Waste Pro (roll-off container); and James Collins of Builders Care (tile installation).
For more information and to participate in assisting Builders Care’s mission to provide safe shelter for the area’s most vulnerable residents, visit online at www.builderscare.org, or call (904) 727-6030.