Pictured from l to r: Disabled Army Veterans George Carswell, City Commissioner Keon Hardemon and City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
By Jimmie Davis, Jr.
Minnie Lee Spann purchased her home back in 1964, and since her death George Carswell (her son) has been in charge over the estate and taking care of the property.
The house had fallen into disrepair because Carswell is a Vietnam Veteran that became diagnosed with a permanent debilitating health condition and he didn’t have the finances to shell out to refurbish the house.
By all safety standards the house wasn’t safe and sound – it was on the verge of collapsing but thanks to $20,000 worth of renovations from the Home Depot Foundation the house is now safe, secure and equity has been restored into the property located at 1152 N.W. 58 St. in Liberty City.
“Home Depot came out and completed the renovations to my house in 30 days,” said Carswell during an interview at his newly renovated house. “Even the store manager Alberto Contreras came out and worked as hard as the regular employees.”
Carswell took the Miami Times on a tour of the house and it was just so amazing to see all of the work that Home Depot revamped. For beginners Home Depot built a memorial rose garden in honor to Cars-well’s dearly departed mother.
New sod was planted around the house to give it an energetic sensation that it was alive along with the new paint – windows – doors and mailbox that gives a home a sense of pride.
Now when it comes time to do laundry, which was originally done on the back of the house where mosquitoes were constantly bombarding the family – Home Depot provided a new washer and dryer inside the house.
“The house was in deplorable conditions and not livable,” Contreras said. “If the house wasn’t repaired it would’ve been demolished.”
Upon entering the house the first thing that’s noticeable is the living room with new laminated floors – paneling – ceiling and Carswell says no significant work has been done on the house since 1978.
The kitchen has been brought up to date on restoration as well with a new cabinets, stove, microwave, and floors.
He even has a completely modernized bathroom – new water heater and three brand new air conditioners.
Putting Carswell’s house back together came through a grant from Home Depot in conjunction with the City of Miami Veterans Services Office and the Veterans Home Rehabilitation Program (VHRP), which stems from the Florida Veterans Foundation.
“We are delighted to say that these renovations and others throughout the city are possible as a result of the partnership forged by the Mayor’s Office,” said Lt. Colonel Antonio “Mico” Colmenares, USMC, Director, District 8, Florida Veterans Foundation. “
With limited funding Colmenares says this initiative will assist as many Veterans as possible and there’s four other Veterans projected to receive help during this calendar year.
Carswell just happens to reside in District 5, but the program targets other districts as well. “I am elated to support the Veterans throughout my district,” said Vice-Chairman, City of Miami Commission, Keon Hardemon, District 5. “Their tenacity has provided me an opportunity to serve this community and I am grateful for that.”
In October of 2013 Tomas Regalado, City of Miami Mayor created the City of Miami Veterans Services Office, which makes the modifications through a partnership that pays with some of the cost associated with helping Veterans.
“I am proud to be involved through my office of Veteran’s Services with improving the living conditions for Mr. Carswell,” said Regalado.“My goal is to ensure that our Veterans are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. We are trying to get them the services they need.”
The Mayor would especially like to thank Home Depot and the Florida Veterans Foundation.