U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon stopped by the Saugus home of war veteran Joshua Murphy and his wife Windie who were selected as the first recipients of the Habitat for Heroes Brush With Kindness program where scores of volunteers painted, put in new landscape, new appliances, new carpet and weatherized their home.
“It’s exciting. And it’s wonderful to get to go sit in my new back yard and just enjoy it out there,” said Joshua Murphy.
“The grass is beautiful, the carpet, the paint. I mean, the whole house is beautiful. I feel like I have a new house,” said Windie Murphy.
Mike Mizrahi sits on the board of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley Chapter and represents the Gas Company who had a vital participation in the SCV Habitat for Heroes program. He hadn’t visited the home in a while but could see the tremendous changes.
“The new lawn looks wonderful. The new paint on the house spruces up the house very nicely. On the inside it looks wonderful. New carpet. New appliances,” said Mizrahi.
Donna Deutchman, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Los Angeles area was pleased McKeon came to visit during his busy schedule.
“He plays an exceptionally important role in the future of veterans in this country and we’re very lucky Santa Clarita has him as our congressman for our veterans. Particularly since Santa Clarita has so many veterans. So that’s a wonderful nexus,” said Deutchman.
While speaking to McKeon, Deutchman wanted to emphasize that the Brush With Kindness wasn’t simply a home makeover.
“It’s in order to help the veterans be able to stay at home not to become homeless because they can’t adjust to life in their home either because of new disabilities or because they can’t make it their home with a self-sufficient future. And that’s what most veterans want they want to come home and be self-sufficient. If not immediately then in the future,” said Deutchman.
That’s part of why the Murphy family was chosen.
Joshua Murphy served two tours of duty with the Army in Iraq. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other injuries from a mortar blast that hit his guard tower in Iraq and is unable to work.
His wife Windie has become his full-time caretaker.
Today, he still has difficulty bending over in the shower long enough to wash his legs and feet. The PTSD has left him with panic attacks and blackouts. Due to his physical ailments, he is unable to perform simple repairs to his family’s home.
On Nov. 5, the Brush With Kindness began. KHTS co-owners Carl Goldman and Jeri Serrati-Goldman introduced Joshua and Windie to the crowd.
“We know that this critical home modification is only one way that we can pay back our veterans and that it will never amount to the sacrifices Joshua has made for all of us. We only hope that Joshua and his family can accept this as a symbol of our gratitude for him and what he has done for our country,” said Carl Goldman.
The SCV Habitat for Heroes Project is just beginning. Mizrahi says they are all raring to go.
“Oh, yeah. We’re genuinely committed to doing maybe 8 to 10 of these in 2012. We’re hoping to get that many done. And we’re accumulating a list of veterans that need help so I think we’re going to accomplish that goal,” said Mizrahi.