By Beth Dodd
Andrew Smith is a disabled Marine who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is also a single father. He and his 5 year old son, Laren, who has Muscular Dystrophy, live in Cripple Creek. Recently, they found out that their home was infected with black mold. They needed major repairs done to make their home safe, but money was tight. What to do? Fortunately for Smith, an organization called Point Man Ministries was there to lend a hand.
Point Man Ministries is an evangelical Christian service organization that connects hurting veterans and their families with a system for continued support, encouragement, understanding, and fellowship. Their services are free. Their outreach includes weekly support and accountability meetings, hospital visits, conferences, speaking at churches and veteran’s groups, welcome home projects, and community support of various kinds depending on the needs of individual families.
According to LTC (Ret) Jay Magee of Point Man Ministries in Colorado Springs, they first met Smith earlier in 2014. Smith’s home had an unfinished basement and only a wood stove for heat. As the service group began working to improve the living conditions for Smith and his son, they discovered that the more work they did on his house, the more they found that needed to be fixed. The worst part was when they discovered black mold after removing some insulation in the basement. Black mold can cause serious health problems and can make a home unlivable.
Point Man Ministries has held three fundraisers in Colorado Springs and Denver on behalf of Smith to help pay for his home repairs, and several other organizations have added their support.
One of these is the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association or CVMA, Chapter 3-2. Another is called Paying It Back to Our Vets. These groups donated the labor to do the initial demolition work in the kitchen, which was the starting point for the mold. They have raised or donated over $1,500.
The sheet metal workers union Local#9, under the direction of Jason Kite, donated a new furnace and ductwork as well as the labor to install it. Ace Hardware of Cripple Creek donated many materials at significant discounts. The building inspectors and staff for Cripple Creek, including Jeff Kurka, have been wonderfully supportive of the project. The organization Rebuilding Together gave a Home Depot Foundation gift card for $1,500. All the labor for the Smith’s home repairs has been volunteered and is being performed by skilled craftsmen.
Smith and his son have gone to Oklahoma to be with their family for Christmas, but hope to be able to move back into a safe and healthy home after the holidays. The mold remediation is now done, and there is a new stairwell. The kitchen sub-floor and tile have been replaced too.
But in spite of the generous gifts this family has already received, more money is needed to finish the job. The kitchen still needs cabinets, other parts of the house need new sheetrock, paint, and carpet. Then there’s the bathroom. If you would like to support the completion of the Smith’s home restoration, you can donate at www.pointmancoloradosprings.org.