BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Homelessness is a problem that plagues tens of thousands of American military veterans. A boy scout from Hobbie decided he needed to take a stand and be part of the solution. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, the teen stepped up, Tuesday, to help change a life.
Surrounded by dignitaries, 17-year-old Boy Scout Tim Maron finally broke ceremonial ground on his Eagle Scout Service Project. It’s a cause that’s dear to his heart. “It’s crazy. They give so much for us and then they come home to nothing,” he said.
A plot of land on the 300 block of Monroe Street in Berwick is where the future home will be built for one of America’s roughly 40,000 homeless vets. Nearly two years before the groundbreaking, Tim dug into his plan. “There’s been a lot of hurdles,” he said.
Besides obtaining the necessary permits, there was the tall task of raising more than $50,000. “And through his determination he’s making it happen, said Tim’s father Richard Maron.
Tim pitched his project to Wells Fargo whose Military Community Programs Manager Jeff Chavannes said, “When the application came in, I just knew that this was a very unique project.” The bank met the request with a $45,000 donation. Wells Fargo employees will also volunteer to help build the frame of the future one-story, 550 square foot home. Mr. Chavannes said, “To support him to continue to give hope to all veterans out there is just the right thing.”
When Tim first started the project, he had no idea that building a home in this Berwick neighborhood would fit into a far greater plan of revitalization in Columbia County. “We’ve been working in this neighborhood since 2005,” said Community Strategies Group Executive Director Rich Kisner.
Community Strategies Group helped get more than two dozen blighted homes in this part of Berwick demolished including one where the future homeless vet house will stand. “We’ll continue ownership and maintain and work with the tenant through the V.A.,” said Mr. Kisner.
Tim doesn’t know which homeless vet will occupy the future home but it doesn’t really seem to matter. “I’m so thankful to be able to help a veteran. They gave so much for me and I’m very thankful to give back to them.”
Tim will work with local contractors in the next several months. The home is expected to be built by the end of the year.