With Many Hands The Load Is Light

June 29, 2023
by Bret Pinson, Executive Director at Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge

For Baton Rouge neighbors David and Lisha Shultz, a seemingly simple addition to their home made a world of difference in their quality of life. David was a Vietnam veteran living with disabilities and Lisha is currently fighting cancer. The couple reached out to us about installing a ramp for David so he could enter and exit their home. Due to his disability, David was unable to leave his home. We knew we wanted to help. A team of Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge staff, along with The Silver Hammers (a group of retired men helping to install ramps in their community), came together to assemble a ramp for David and Lisha. 

Once the ramp was installed, Lisha brought David outside. David began flailing his arms and gasping for air once he was about halfway down the ramp. Our staff was worried that he may have been experiencing a medical emergency, so our team rushed towards him immediately. David pushed the team back and said “No, I'm fine. I’m just taking in the fresh air.” We asked David the last time he had been outside. He said it had been at least two to three years. 
Unfortunately, David passed away a few months after the repairs were made. Lisha expressed her gratitude and told us that these past few months were the best David had in his entire life. When the weather was nice, Lisha would bring David outside and they would enjoy a cup of coffee together. “He would just sit there and enjoy being outside.” 

This project impacted our team immensely. As a seasoned team, it can be easy to become desensitized to certain things. There are thousands of neighbors who are stuck in their own homes and simply do not have the resources to leave. Our staff was honored to be able to help some of these neighbors, as well as provide them with other resources to help increase their quality of life. 

One way we are making that happen is through our partnership with United Way. Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge received the Innovation Grant, funded by United Way, which provides funding to help hire a case manager. This case manager acts as a liaison between neighbors and offers additional resources within communities. So far this year, our case manager has helped about 50 neighbors access essential necessities outside of home repairs. 

“With many hands, the load is light.” This saying perfectly defines the transformative impact this project had on our team. Through the power of community and collaboration, our dedicated team of volunteers made a big difference.