Retirees Rebuilding Tulsa Together

Thursday, January 22nd 2009, 9:04 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Improving the lives of low income Tulsans one rehab project at a time. That is the mission of the volunteers from Rebuilding Together Tulsa.  The group of retired professionals spent Thursday redoing the inside of a home in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood of central Tulsa.

Marwin Kemp is securing sheet rock in one room; while around the corner, Richard Thompson is cutting another piece of sheet rock for a wall in the bathroom.

The crew of busy volunteers for Rebuilding Together Tulsa is working on a house in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood near 3rd and Victor.  They work on Thursdays and for the past six or seven Thursdays they've been re-doing the inside of the home.

"We'll get a new roof on, do some repairs to the siding, get it all painted, take care of these floors, and get them moved back in," said Dean Lesikar, project coordinator.

Dean Lesikar is the project coordinator.  He's the technical expertise and ensures the volunteers have what they need to do the job.  Before joining Rebuilding Tulsa Together, Lesikar was the president of Hilti.

Hugh Burleigh is one of the founding members of the group 15 years ago, which includes retired college professors, engineers, doctors and other professionals

Over the years the house has shifted and so they have to make the door fit the frame.  Every project they take on has different challenges but the rewards are always the same.

"We have a lot of fun.  We enjoy the camaraderie as much as we do the work," said Hugh Burleigh.

Last year more than 500 volunteers with Rebuilding Together Tulsa worked on 226 homes.  There are currently 165 homes on a repair waiting list.