Meet the Wrights – Small Repairs Make Big Transformations
Warm. When you enter the Wright’s home, you immediately feel the comfort of countless memories shared here. The Wrights have lived in their home for over 50 years, raising not only their children but anyone else who needed a place to stay. Grounded in faith and love, the Wrights open their doors to everyone. Mrs. Wright shared, “I raised 16 children in this house, and I told them,’never get rid of this house,’ because there’s a lot of love in this house.” These days they love staying in touch with loved ones and having the entire family over to watch the University of South Carolina games. This is not just a home to her, Mrs. Wright says. It’s her life.
But life has not always been easy for the Wrights. After losing her sight at age 58, Mrs. Wright relies on her memory of the home’s layout to get around safely. Recently, a fall in the shower made her feel unsafe getting in and out. Mr. Wright was once his wife’s eyes, but a significant cancer diagnosis leaves him less able to help Mrs. Wright around the house. Mrs. Wright was teary when talking about her husband’s recent diagnosis as Mr. Wright looked on his wife with contentment. After 52 years of marriage, the love shared between these two is undeniable.
To keep their home safe and livable, the Wrights reached out to Rebuild Upstate for assistance. Volunteer teams with Harold Hughes and SVN Blackstream installed a sliding shower door and handrails essential for securing Mrs. Wright’s safety and independence. In addition to safety enhancements, volunteers replaced drafty windows with new windows that will keep the couple warm in winter, cool in the summer, and will keep utility costs low.
But the centerpiece of these life-changing repairs? A ramp to the beloved backyard. Mrs. Wright asked volunteers to take her outside the second the team finished assembling the ramp- she had not been outside for five years. “When I was able to feel my tree, my big oak tree after all these years…” she trailed off into meaningful silence. She shared that her backyard holds decades of memories of her children, her children’s children, and their children. Now with a ramp in place, the Wrights will no longer have to depend on others to enjoy the outdoors together.
Harold Hughes, Rebuild Upstate board member and build day volunteer, witnessed the moment Mrs. Wright was able to touch her beloved oak tree. “The entire experience was just transformative. Often times, I think that we take our health and basic freedoms for granted. Meeting the Wright family and seeing how as Mrs. Wright lost her vision, she wasn’t able to enjoy the simple beauty that was in her own backyard was painful. Given the state of the stairs and back deck, she could no longer touch her “big tree” and it was a beautiful moment to see her walk down that ramp unassisted and stand under that tree as she has done so many times before. I’m thankful that my family and friends were able to be a part of that project for their family.”
Mrs. Wright wishes she could hug each volunteer and tell them, “you have no idea how much your work means to me.” The Wrights not only appreciated the repairs but the company and conversation from the volunteers. Mrs. Wright said she could feel Mr. Wright, a Vietnam and army veteran, light up when he was able to talk to a fellow veteran and Rebuild Upstate volunteer. They especially loved the volunteer cookout and football game in the backyard, and would not mind having that much fun every week!
Check out our interview with Michael Lee, the veteran who connected with Mr. Wright, here.