Keeping Homeowners Warm, Safe and Independent

Group photo of Rebuilding Together 2014
SCJ Alliance and Lifespan Construction Project team members with home owner John Nunneh (center in beige jacket).

Sagging ceilings…Exposed bare wiring…Rotting bathroom walls…Missing window panes…Inadequate insulation…Inefficient lighting…Overgrown foliage.

Photo of Joshua Sjoding replacing trim
Joshua Sjoding hard at work updating trim, windows and doors.

It had been 37 years since John Nunneh and his wife moved into their 1933 home in one of Olympia’s most historic and community oriented neighborhoods. For 30 years John proudly maintained their house, but a serious car accident in 2007 disabled him.

His wife cared for John during his recovery, but she was diagnosed with cancer shortly thereafter. For four years John cared for her at home between hospital visits. In November 2011, his beloved wife passed away.

Photo of Jean Carr repairing kitchen ceiling tiles
Jean Carr works on ceiling repairs in the living room.

Years of understandable inattention to home maintenance, coupled with lack of funds due to medical bills, made it difficult for John to return his home to a safe and healthy condition. Thankfully, John knew to reach out to Rebuilding Together Thurston County for assistance.

Help Arrives

The Northwest’s typical fall rain met a group of 40 volunteers at John’s property on a Friday morning in September.

For SCJ Alliance, it was the third year our employees had teamed with Rebuilding Together and it was our largest showing yet. Twenty-one employees, four spouses and five kids arrived ready to take care of John’s much needed home repairs. SCJ Alliance as a company also supports Rebuilding Together throughout the year.

Photo of Dan Ireland repairing soffit
Dan Ireland puts finishing touches on a structural repair.

Rebuilding Together, partnering with United Way’s Day of Caring, had also recruited assistance from Lifespan Construction, Gillaspie’s Tree Service, and Ace Carpet Installation & Repair.

A generous $10,000 donation was provided by Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and landscaping materials were provided by Great Western Supply, creating a solid foundation for a successful project.

The volunteers – many with construction, carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills – grabbed tools and began reconstructing John’s kitchen ceiling, installing insulation, replacing window panes, adding roof supports and installing carpet. Paint was applied to repaired and reconstructed areas, as well as those just needing “freshening up.”

Photo of renovated bathroom
John’s bathroom remodel. Special thanks to Lifespan Construction, Tony Leingang and Ron Lampman, for going above and beyond and completing this multiple-day project.

The bathroom, with extensive water damage, ended up being a multiple-day project. New wall boards, flooring, toilet, tub, lighting, wall tile and facets were all included in the bathroom remodel.

Safety was enhanced by adding smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and lighting fixtures. A number of light fixtures and bulbs were also replaced with more energy efficient models, to help John reduce energy costs. The new insulation and window panes also improved energy efficiency.

Outside, crews worked hard removing ivy and overgrown foliage, weeding, edging and spreading bark. Beautiful walking paths were cleared and constructed, both enhancing the property’s appearance and safety.

Photo of foliage removal work
From left, Maryam Lynch-Tate, Andrea Detlefsen, Jeremy Willett, and Lisa Palazzi remove overgrown foliage.

Everyone took a welcome break mid-day when Ron Vansickle from Peppers Restaurant in Downtown Olympia arrived with warm Mexican food. He fed the entire crew like kings.

Photo of Andrea Detlefsen and Pam Folsom with shovels
Andrea Detlefsen (left) and Pam Folsom take a break from shoveling sand for the walkway.

Safe & Comfortable

John now lives in a much safer, more energy efficient and comfortable home. His investment in his house is not only being maintained, he’s been able to rent out a room. This has provided a much needed boost to his income and supported ongoing home maintenance.

The added financial security has allowed John to continue with confidence his volunteer work as an ombudsman for people in long-term care facilities –without a doubt, a win-win for our community.

Photo of Laura Barker with string trimmer
Laura Barker making good use of the weedeater.

Rebuilding Together Thurston County brings volunteers and communities together to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.  See how you can get involved!  Find out more at

Photo of finished kitchen ceiling with insert showing work-in-progress
John’s finished kitchen. Inset shows (from left) Scott Sawyer, Tyrell Bradley and Matt Weyrauch, who were also assisted by Eric Johnston, in making repairs to the kitchen.

One Comment

  1. When I woke up that morning and saw the steady drizzle, I was NOT looking forward to this project. But all you SCJ people made for a fantastic day! Your work ethic, the quality of your work, the amount of your work, the upbeat attitude all day, John’s pleasure at what was happening, the camaraderie between all the folks who were there . . . well, what more could you ask for? WOW! That was a great experience! Thank so much to every one of you for making it so.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *