Veteran's widow gets needed home repairs

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJune 22, 2013 

With rain pouring inside her 4511 Lunsford St. home in Columbus, Bernice Wilder has been praying for help for the last five years to get some relief.

Wilder's prayer will be answered today from Wells Fargo's Community Service Super Saturday and House of Heroes. The banking company will donate $5,000 to House of Heroes for work on the house and $2,500 to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Volunteers will be playing with 50 children at the Frank D. Chester Community on Benning Drive.

Wilder, 81, said it's wonderful to get much needed repairs to the Washington Heights home she and her late husband, retired Sgt. 1st Class Robert Wilder, moved into 53 years ago.

"It's raining on top of the table," Wilder said. "I asked God to let that devil go somewhere else. That's why I asked God to remove the rain so it wouldn't be raining in the house."

Susan Wood, director of operations for House of Heroes, said the nonprofit organization makes repairs on 40-50 homes of needy military or public safety veterans every year.

Wood said Wells Fargo stepped in after Wilder's home was selected from a list that needed repairs. "Mrs. Wilder's house needs a lot of extra help," she said. "We do have other people who will be able to go out and help with some of her other needs."

Her roof has a hole in it and boards need replacing. House of Heroes doesn't normally do roofs because the work is expensive, but the organization has received extra funding from Run Across Georgia. "We are working with an organization now to see if we can get supplies donated," Wood said.

Wilder said the house was new when she and her husband moved into the neighborhood. Robert Wilder served in World War II and the Korean Conflict. He was still serving when they bought the house. "I saw the bricks going on it," she said.

A year before her husband died in October 2009, Wilder said she had contractors stopping by the house to get estimates on work, but never found one suitable.

"Some came out and looked at the house and never got back with me," she said. "Some came out and asked do you have insurance on the house?"

Wood said House of Heroes also will be working on the home of a veteran today in Waverly Hall, Ga.

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