An Ongoing Reflection Plus Guiding Questions
By Ruby P., AmeriCorps Client Coordinator
Photo by RTSV of Ruby at RTSV’s Fall 2022 Rebuilding Day alongside volunteers from Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE), lead sponsor of this project site.
When I reflect on the word “rebuild” in respect to this nation’s armed services members, the transition from service back to civilian life comes to mind. The years that pass and the markets that shift are coupled with the opportunity to rebuild.
As a service member with AmeriCorps, I believe that the opportunity to serve and listen attentively to client needs and team objectives are invaluable experiences during this term. Connecting this with our service men and women, I am humbled by those who responded to the call to serve and have sacrificed for this nation so that we may have certain liberties.
In pondering the above, I was inspired to share pieces of family history below and questions for you to reflect upon. Consider writing down your answers and thoughts and sharing with someone.
Questions before reading:
- How are you serving your community?
- How are you served by your community?
- What is the meaning of Veteran’s Day to you? How about to others who you know have served?
At the end of World War II, some 75 years ago, my great grandfather ended his service and built a home for his family by hand. The roof was made of surplus wartime ammunition boxes and all the external walls were made of cinder blocks. It took years after construction to add interior walls and you can still see where the garage was started but never finished. His wife, my great grandmother, spent 75 years living in this same home and turns 100 in a few days. Just a few miles away in the same year of 1947, another great grandfather started the “Lyons Home Builders” with several businessmen in town. Some of the moderately prices homes they built were offered to veterans for their first 30 days on the market. Below is a clipping of the news article describing their work. While his brother was away at service, my great grandfather stayed back to work and put food on the table. My great grandmother was a homemaker who was dedicated to the local community and her church. As far as building was concerned, her “Li Ar Mu” (literature, arts, and music) group was responsible for the construction of the local swimming pool in town – which I swam in as a kid.
Clipping from the local newspaper highlighting the “Lyons Home Builders”
At the same time some 600 miles away, another one of my great grandmothers ran her own candy business and took care of her brother’s farm while he was away serving in the Navy. During this time, she raised many kids – two of whom became Marines. Her brother returned home from service on the Queen Mary. My great grandfather was a blacksmith, serving as a farrier for horses at the time. All my “greats” had to build by hand in their own ways for many reasons which I will probably elaborate on in a book someday. Overall, it was not a walk in the park amidst recessionary activities and racial covenants, however it was a walk holding hands and working to be productive members of society. They all seemed to supplant the notion of scarcity and channel resourcefulness, increased faith, and service.
Questions to ponder now:
- How has your perspective on service been shaped?
- How do you serve who you serve?
Construction Service Manager and Fall 2022 Rebuilding Day House Captain, Kevin McCarthy with Homeowner, Don.
I learn everyday how this organization takes initiative in serving those who serve us. Check out a recent story about RTSV’s service to veterans, here. The offerings of Rebuilding Together directly connect with these themes of service and encouraging self-sufficiency. My first volunteer event with the team was at a veteran resource fair at an American Legion with fellow AmeriCorps member Val. We saw firsthand how Rebuilding Together can be a part of that rebuilding process for veterans. One in seven clients served by the organization are veterans according to RT’s Impact Measurement report. At the Silicon Valley affiliate alone, over 400 Veteran households have been served since its founding in 1991. With further analysis we may can see trends or intrinsic calls for growth. For now, RTSV leadership is working on a grant that will secure more funding for veteran services.
I am honored to count Rebuilding Together and AmeriCorps as another base for nurturing my interests, thriving, and being in service to others. In experiencing the work of our technicians, Mrs. Everton, and admin teams, I see firsthand that people are helped, and their stories are heard. It is a blessing to share resources and to be of service to others.
Question to leave you with:
- How has your community shaped your perspective on service?
- How has Rebuilding Together helped you – whether it be as a homeowner, volunteer, or staff member?
- What line(s) of service are you involved with? How do you connect this with your passions?
This reflection is evolving as I learn more all around. Overall, the ongoing process of seeing yourself in service can turn a self-focused mirror into an open door for community discovery and sharing with others.
At Rebuilding Together – Silicon Valley, we believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home, so we help provide critical home repairs to over 500 clients per year, including to those who are aging in place. We rely on generous donations—like those on Giving Tuesday—to continue our essential work and the positive impact we have in these communities.
Our Work Takes Grit!
and create change firsthand!