CHICAGO (CBS) — An Englewood man who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam and Korean wars said he’s overwhelmed by the generosity of volunteers who recently fixed up his house.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Mack Jones’s home of nearly 40 years had a top-to-bottom rehab, thanks to the organizations Rebuilding Together and Sears Heroes at Home.
He sat in front of his home on the 5600 block of South Seeley Avenue on Friday, looking out over the small army of volunteers who have been working on his home.
“This is like the American dream reinforced,” he said.
He thanked the volunteers and joked, “You know, it’s been said it’s better to give than receive, but receiving feels pretty good right now.”
The dozens of volunteers laughed and applauded.
He also thanked them for their “courage for coming into Englewood.”
“Sometimes we’ve been given a bad name,” he said.
Jones said his home was literally making him sick. There was mold in the walls and ceilings, and that triggered problems with his asthma.
The home has a new roof, the walls and ceilings were rebuilt, the place was painted inside and out, and appliances were replaced.
But his favorite part, he said, is the rear deck.
“My hangout,” he called it.
He has a barbecue on the deck, and said that’s where you’ll find him this summer.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by the house for the official ribbon-cutting, and thanked Jones for his service.
He also seized on Jones’s remark about Englewood, saying, “Too often people don’t see the real spirit of the people that live here in Englewood.”
Jones said his 12 years of military service made him what he is today. He said he ended up getting a master’s degree after the service, and worked for a newspaper as a reporter, and for the Chicago Urban League.
He also managed clothing stores in the Loop, and retired as an administrator in early childhood education.
“I feel like I’m getting a little bit more than I gave,” Jones said.
Sears vice president Sherry Nolan-Schultz said, “Two-way street, right? The freedom that we have in this country is because of statements like that.”