Give a little bit

Published 11:18 am Monday, October 8, 2012

Youngsters volunteering with Our Savior’s Lutheran Church pull up nails from Ardyce Brechtel’s deck in the south side of Austin. -- Jason Schoonover/

Day of Caring helps elderly stay in home

About 14 people pounded, tore, ripped and hammered a deck apart Saturday — for a good cause.

Matt Lubensky picks picks up a piece of railing from the Ardyce Brechtel’s deck on the 900 Block of 14th Street SW Saturday as part of Day of Caring. Volunteers from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church helped take an old deck apart of the property.

The volunteers with Our Savior’s Lutheran Church represented just a portion of the record turnout of about 300 people for the seventh annual Day of Caring, where volunteers helped homeowners with work they can’t do.

“You can give just a little bit of time and make a huge difference,” said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of the United Way of Mower County.

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On the 900 Block of 15th Street SW, the crew from Our Savior’s helped 88-year-old Ardyce Brechtel remove the deck from the back of her home.

Brechtel’s husband, Harry, passed away recently, and she’s had surgery on her shoulders, making it difficult to do the work to repair the deck or shovel snow.

She’d tried starting to pull up some of the nails, but wasn’t able to.

“I’m not as tough as I used to be,” she joked.

Since her children live out of state, Brechtel was thankful for the work by Day of Caring volunteers.

“It’s a big help,” she said.

Dan Hirst, a volunteer with the group, said he and the other volunteers felt blessed to be a part of the community and the for chance to give back.

Along with being a good display of volunteerism, Lighthizer-Schmidt said the day helps many elderly stay in their home.

“The projects range from simple window washing and yard cleanup to deck removal and waterproofing,” Lighthizer-Schmidt said in a press release. “Most of the projects are rather simple and not very time consuming, but it helps the homeowners who might not otherwise be able to get the project done. And that’s the whole focus of Day of Caring … to help one another.”