Bankers work to improve home of war widow

Annie Battle said she cried tears of joy when told that House of Heroes was sending a crew to make improvements to her house.

"I got very emotional. I was surprised and happy. I needed a lot done and it would be hard for me to do by myself these days," Battle said.

Battle's husband Ulysses was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army. He was killed by hostile fire in Vietnam in 1969. They had been married 13 years.

He served in Germany and at several bases in the U.S. including Fort Benning.

"He loved being a soldier and serving his country," Battle said.

House of Heroes, founded in 2000, is a nonprofit organization serving the nation's military and public safety veterans and their spouses who are disabled, living on a fixed income or facing other physical or financial challenges.

Volunteers perform minor repairs and make improvements in their homes at no charge.

Monday morning, a team made of members of Columbus Bank & Trust private wealth management team arrived at her home on Staunton Drive in Columbus.

Heath Schondelmayer, the wealth management team director, said between 20 and 25 people would be working on the house.

He said that the team would be doing some carpentry work and some painting. A hand rail on the front steps would be fixed.

"There's a storage are that needs cleaning out," he said.

He said team members felt good doing the work because of the sacrifice the veterans and their spouses had made for this country.

Michael Adams, an assistant vice president at Synovus Trust, echoed that sentiment and said the firm likes to volunteer do one of these projects each year.

"Mrs. Battle's husband paid the ultimate price. We're glad to do it," Adams said.

Battle was thrilled to have the workers toiling outside her home.

"This is just an outstanding program," she said.