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Local Veteran Assisted by Volunteers

NMU student and staff volunteers took advantage of Wednesday’s ideal weather to continue a painting project at the Marquette home of World War II veteran Robert Peterson and his wife, Loretta. With support from a $15,000 Wells Fargo grant and volunteer assistance from the banking company’s local employees, the Petersons are receiving free upgrades to enhance the appearance and safety of their home. The new funding is an expansion of Wells Fargo’s longstanding support of the local Make a Difference Day activities coordinated by the NMU Volunteer Center.

“A condition of this grant was that 60 community service hours be invested in this home —30 from Wells Fargo employees and 30 from NMU volunteers,” said Rachel Harris (Center for Student Enrichment). “We surpassed that quite a while ago. The weather hasn’t cooperated on some of the designated work days, so we’re down to the wire trying to complete everything.”

The project has included scraping and painting the house and garage. The NMU Constructors student organization also assisted in reframing the garage door, replacing rotted boards along the bottom of the structure, installing an electric garage door opener and adding safety handles where needed. Volunteers also pulled weeds and, with help from the Marquette Beautification Committee, will plant flowers at the home next spring.

“Most of the planning was done before I started this fall,” said Seth Kratz, an electronics engineering technology major from Caro who also manages the NMU Volunteer Center. “It’s a great event and it’s been fun to be involved. I got to meet the Petersons. They are super nice people.”

Brian McGowan of Cork, Ireland, is pursuing his master’s in exercise science. Despite injuring his hand and awaiting a possible cast, he was up on a ladder painting the fascia on the garage (pictured). “I work in the Center for Student Enrichment and heard from people in the office what a great place this is to help out and what a cool project it is. I got involved as a way to give back to the community. The work is easy; it just takes time.”

The NMU Volunteer Center put out a call in July for veterans of low to moderate income in need of a home renovation project. The Petersons’ application was selected from among those received.