Lowe’s, labor, and a little love to bring the Veterans Referral Center back to life

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 8:56 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Veterans Referral Center in Paintsville is working to refresh and remodel after floodwaters poured through the area earlier this year.

“It was a heartbreaking thing, you know, to have the loss that we had,” said Director Douglas Murphy.

After the community and several organizations pitched in, the center fixed some of its cosmetic concerns. However, the more serious issues remained, leaving the veterans to wonder what would become of the center in the future.

“We were able to wipe the mud off the outside of the walls but we weren’t able to get inside where all the damage is,” said Murphy.

The damage is also a concern for health purposes.

“Cosmetically, you can fix a whole lot. But what is underneath the walls, really, is what matters,” said Project Manager Stephanie Rodriguez. “Especially if you have a lot of moisture in the walls. And we have a lot of elderly veterans here. You know, that’s kind of dangerous.”

Now, thanks to a more than $140,000 grant, the center is looking to rebuild and reclaim its mission.

“It means safety for our people who are coming in and that we’re helping,” said Murphy.

The Lowe’s 100 Hometowns initiative was born as a way for the home improvement store to celebrate 100 years of business. The company, in partnership with a non-profit, is working to complete 100 projects in communities across the nation. The referral center was chosen as the only project in the state of Kentucky.

“They started crying. They were so emotional about it that they knew there’s a place to go to, you know, and that the work will continue even past that life,” said Rodriguez.

With plans in place to repair the hidden issues and complete projects like the paving of the parking area, she is confident the center will be back on track in no time.

“This means that our veterans, for years to come now, still have a place to go to,” said Rodriguez.

You can find out more about the 100 Hometowns project here.

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