Veterans build homes for domestic violence victims

Local

A group of men and women are building apartments in Oneida for domestic violence victims. They’re part of the nonprofit, Responsive to Our Community, formed last year in Syracuse to give work to veterans. 

Right now, the group is working on a three-story building from the 1800’s that will fit 10 families.

“Makes me feel like I’m helping people out who just don’t have the resources or you know, maybe family members or what not,” said Thomas Williamson, Crew leader for Responsive to Our Community.

Building homes with a few visions in mind. 

“Take care of the city, repair dilapidated homes, and take care of veterans and their families and displaced workers and give them a trade in the work environment to you know, move on to a better career,” said Jarrod W. Shaughnessy, Construction Manager for ROC.

Williamson worked as a Navy Seabee for two decades, focusing on construction. But when he left the service, looking for a job felt nearly impossible.

“Kind of hard sometimes because you know, you have the experience and you’re trying to, you know, you have all the benefits in the military and you’re trying to find another job that’s going to add up,” Williamson said.

When he saw this opportunity, he knew he could put his experience into play. Williamson is joined by others who may have never picked up a pry bar before this project. But if you ask Shaughnessy, who looks over the workers every day, he’d give the job to them over anybody else.

“A lot of people you try to teach them a trade and they’re either, you know, they just let it go through one ear and out the other but, these guys are actually taking it in and they’re putting it toward their new career and their new life down the road,” Shaughnessy said.

Building a life for themselves, helping others along the way.

“We give them a clean environment, a fresh home with new paint,everything that they need to function as a family,” Shaughnessy said.

The project was started a little over a year ago. It’s expected to cost over $1 million and they are hoping to raise more money to help pay for it. Join them at the 21st Annual Charity Preview on Wednesday, Feb. 6 on opening night of the Syracuse Auto Expo.

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