FVTC construction management students make a difference

September 28, 2012

From fox11online.com: “Fox Valley group helps homeowners” — KAUKAUNA – Jon Minkebige has been a resident of the city of Kaukauna for more than two decades.

In 1987, he moved into a home that was built in the late 1800s, with intentions to restore it.

Those plans changed after Minkebige was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  As his health continued to deteriorate, his home did as well.

“Because I lived here, I was used to the problem,” said Minkebige. “But I had mold issues, and when I saw the plaster falling through the kitchen I knew something had to be done.”

Rebuilding Together Fox Valley recently stepped in to help him.

The non-profit organization’s goal is to help senior citizens and those with disabilities make home repairs that if not taken care of, could force them to leave their homes.

RTFV gathers professional contractors, volunteers and students to help with the repair work. It is funded through corporate sponsorships and private donations, relieving the homeowner of the financial burden.

Many of the students who help RTFV are part of the construction management program at Fox Valley Technical College.

“We partnered with Rebuilding Together Fox Valley in September of last year,” said Rich Cass, a construction management instructor for FVTC. “Our students are able to work with a live client, do some design work and schedule subcontractors on the labor side.”

Cass assigned student Chris Deiss to take the lead on Minkebige’s home this past spring. Deiss says it was no easy task, as Minkebige’s home needed major work. Plumbing, new windows, a new ceiling and a front deck were just several items on the to-do list. Deiss recalls seeing snow and rain coming through Minkebige’s bathroom ceiling when he made his first visit.

“If things had continued the way it was, he may have not been able to stay here,” said Deiss.  “He might have had to go to an assisted living home or somewhere along the line.”

It took Deiss and scores of volunteers and professional contractors to make-over Minkebige’s home. The project was finished in three months.

“You say thank you so many times,” said Minkebige. “I actually get emotional just thinking what they did to help me out.”

RTFV expects to make repairs to as many as 100 homes by the end of 2012. You can help by making a monetary donation, or by offering any skilled trade services you may have.



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