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Column: Homemade Stew
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Column: Homemade Stew

Commentary – Rebuilding Together Alexandria

When you walk in the front door there is the familiar smell of a special stew, made with honey, warming on the stove. Sixty-eight-year-old Stan has lived in his home near the Braddock Metro neighborhood his entire life; he was actually born in it. It is the last original home on the street and was originally owned by a local abolitionist. He was raised here along with his four siblings and has raised his own son in the same home. He comments, “We were well bred and well fed.” His favorite place to be is in his kitchen, and as the stew continues to simmer, Stan has his own special pot of stories and history to share with any interested acquaintance.

He recently celebrated his 50th anniversary of graduating from George Washington High School. In 1964, before T.C. Williams was built, he was part of the first fully integrated class. “I, Stan, was the first black to score a touchdown in George Washington stadium.” He was also a star wrestler in high school and is willing to share every last detail of his athletic younger years to anyone willing to listen.

Later on in his life Stan was known as “Stan the Carpet Man” and he will eagerly pull out a portfolio of artistic, geometric carpet designs to demonstrate his work over 37 years. After years of success, times became tough after he suffered a stroke and had to relearn basic tasks. Regardless, Stan remains active and ventures to the library next to Rebuilding Together Alexandria’s office every day to check his email. Stan reached out to Rebuilding Together Alexandria when he had received an application in the mail. The organization was familiar to him as a close neighbor told him about the assistance they had received from us. Stan’s home was one of nearly 40 homes repaired by teams on National Rebuilding Day, April 30. The volunteer team replaced the roof on his shed, installed a storm door, installed a new bathroom faucet, removed brush from his yard, and many more needed repairs. The connections he made with the team were ever lasting. Volunteers continue to come every few weeks to help Stan with yard work. Stan wrote in a thank you note that the lead volunteer was, “… the quarterback of the group and demonstrated all the qualities of leadership in which validates females as leaders. Her grasp of logistics and mixing amateurs with professionals was a work of art.”

During every pause in the conversation and when you leave his home, Stan will ask you about eating some of that stew. If you do not have some there, you will surely leave with a container in your hand to enjoy for lunch. Do you know neighbor like Stan who could benefit from our services? We encourage you to introduce them to us. For more information, call 703-836-1021 or visit www.RebuildingTogetherAlex.org.