Donations, grant help Streamwood veteran stay in his home

 
 
Posted11/7/2018 11:59 AM
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  • Jennie Clark of Streamwood, left, shows Hanover Township Veterans Specialist Cyndi Pollack the renovation of her bathroom that allows her disabled Korean War veteran husband Hershel to walk directly into the shower and sit down there.

    Jennie Clark of Streamwood, left, shows Hanover Township Veterans Specialist Cyndi Pollack the renovation of her bathroom that allows her disabled Korean War veteran husband Hershel to walk directly into the shower and sit down there. Courtesy of Hanover Township

  • Hanover Township Veterans Specialist Cyndi Wollack, left, meets with Jennie and Hershel Clark in their Streamwood home after the renovation of its bathroom that allows the disabled Hershel to remain seated in the shower and at the sink.

    Hanover Township Veterans Specialist Cyndi Wollack, left, meets with Jennie and Hershel Clark in their Streamwood home after the renovation of its bathroom that allows the disabled Hershel to remain seated in the shower and at the sink. Courtesy of Hanover Township

  • Before its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home made it difficult for Hershel to easily enter the shower.

    Before its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home made it difficult for Hershel to easily enter the shower. Courtesy of Hanover Township

  • Following its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home makes it easier for the disabled Korean War veteran Hershel to enter and leave the shower without falling.

    Following its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home makes it easier for the disabled Korean War veteran Hershel to enter and leave the shower without falling. Courtesy of Hanover Township

  • Before its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home required the increasingly disabled Hershel to stand while using the sink and mirror.

    Before its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home required the increasingly disabled Hershel to stand while using the sink and mirror. Courtesy of Hanover Township

  • Following its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home allows the disabled Korean War veteran Hershel to sit while using the sink and mirror.

    Following its renovation, the bathroom of Hershel and Jennie Clark's Streamwood home allows the disabled Korean War veteran Hershel to sit while using the sink and mirror. Courtesy of Hanover Township

An outpouring of generous donations and volunteer labor has supplemented a Department of Veterans Affairs grant to help an 84-year-old combat-wounded Korean War veteran stay in his Streamwood home by making his bathroom handicapped-accessible.

Both Hershel Clark and his wife, Jennie, are still expressing their deep gratitude for all who contributed to making their bathroom usable.

Hershel's ability to walk has diminished over the past three years, and now the house is the only place he can still get around with only a cane or walker instead of his wheelchair.

But Jennie said few people without a disability ever think about how difficult it can be for some to lift their leg over the top of a normal bathtub. And the door of the bathroom wasn't wide enough for even a walker, let alone a wheelchair.

"I feel safer and he feels safer," she said of the changes to the bathroom where Hershel has fallen in the past.

About a year ago, Jennie started looking for someone who could do the work for her limited budget of about $10,000. But the quotes she got back ranged from $22,000 to $34,000.

Both Hanover Township and American Legion Post 57 in Elgin got wind of the couple's dilemma and went to work to see what could be done.

Because Hershel was rated with a 90-100 percent service-connected disability, having been wounded by shrapnel in Korea in 1951, he qualified for a $6,800 Home Improvement & Structural Alterations grant through Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital. In 2004, he had major surgery on his spinal cord.

In addition, members of Elgin Church of the Nazarene raised another $4,000. Knights of Columbus Thomas Merton Council #7254 and Resurrection Catholic Church, both in Wayne, donated all the plumbing materials.

The qualified contractors who learned about the project donated their labor for free.

But the Clarks and Hanover Township officials also want to make sure all veterans are aware of the benefits they may qualify for. Jennie said her husband had no idea of his VA benefits until he was 79.

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