Independence and the ability to stay in your home with the one you love – this is how Rebuild Upstate volunteers have blessed Mark and Rhonda Turnbull.
“We would not have been able to stay in our home if not for Rebuild Upstate,” Rhonda says. “Mark’s mobility was becoming increasingly limited, and it was time-sensitive to have the ramp and shower repairs in place.” Mark, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, receives care from his wife, Rhonda. Rhonda herself is disabled and caring for her husband has become increasingly difficult for her as they both aged.
Mark, a Vietnam Veteran, is familiar with service. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly before the end of the war. He served primarily as a communications specialist on a riverine patrol boat. This was a particularly hazardous duty, with each crewman cross-trained in the other’s job in the event one became unable to carry out his duties. As he reminisced, Mark found it profound that, in the 8-10 hours served by volunteers, they were able to improve his life profoundly.
Now, they each experience a sense of freedom. Rhonda says they each have an .”..improved quality-of-life, a feeling of safety in case of emergency, and the ability to exercise.” One of the most important changes for Mark and Rhonda is having the opportunity to relax outside. Rhonda shared that being outside is “inherent in Mark’s nature.” These days, he and Rhonda spend time doing what they love, which involves a lot of time together and a lot of time with their furry companions, Jasmine and Lady Buddy.
Both Rhonda and Mark agree that the day they came home after marrying is their most cherished memory in the home. Thanks to the work completed by Rebuild Upstate volunteers, they’re able to enjoy one another’s company in an environment comforting the couple for years to come.