Author: Jason Bush
This week started out with some excitement this past Sunday. I was out in the front yard thinking how much neglect my yard has undergone in the last couple years, when Dana and her young son Brody came strolling by like they have been doing for almost two years. I have a goose named “Fat Tony,” named after the New York mob boss, Fat Tony Salerno, and Brody and Dana have been coming by to visit him since before the pandemic started. Tony really likes honking & gaggling with Brody. Dana and I met back then, but never seemed to get an opportunity to have a pointed conversation until Sunday. We got to talking about the Southmayd Home Build Project, and she asked right away about what she could do to get involved and help in some way. She asked what I was in need of at this point since the house is built, painted inside & out, and waiting on cabinets.
I indicated that the project has taken on a life of its own, we’re getting close to a “move that bus” moment, and that there will be a big celebration at the end, which scares the heck out of me as I have no idea how to plan something of that nature. I have a lot of sporadic thoughts and ideas, but not even close as to where to begin. I would prefer to park a tank in front of the new home, and when it becomes time to move it, have it roll right over the old house, but that’s a little wishful thinking.
Dana listened to my concerns, and then said, “I’m your girl”! Turns out she has been the head coach for the Oregon Ducks Cheerleading squad & Mascot for 13 years. I asked her for a little background for the weekly update, and here is what she responded with:
“I’m the head cheerleading coach for the University of Oregon. Born and raised locally. I’ve been coaching the Oregon Cheerleaders and the Duck Mascot for 13 years. On top of supporting athletic events for the University, we do many appearances around the State and community. Our program is partially funded by athletics so that means I do a lot of fundraising and throw a big auction event in May called the Autzen Derby. I am in the middle of event planning and procuring items or sponsorships from local businesses and can easily share this wonderful project with the people I am working with. I am happy to help put together the unveiling event in June.
The cheer alumni network is incredible and I already have a current alumni member who is very connected and already talking with local breweries and eateries on sponsoring your event as well as possible monetary donation. And then of course my husband and some fire fighters are happy to help with some manual labor as they have actually worked on projects similar to this for Veterans.”
So, this is a real big deal for me, to be in a position to finish this project in first-class style! I was so worried that it would falter, become diluted with time, or that the momentum would fade away. Worries I should not have cared about, because I think we’re building up steam now that may help propel us, or me into the next phase of serving our Veterans, which is also very exciting! I’m looking forward to learning all I can from Dana with her experience in this arena, and of course, I want to thank Fat Tony, Dana, Brody, and his new little sister Baylor for bringing us all together for such a special event.
Our overhead garage doors are being installed as I write this. This will allow Jayson & Misty to start going through their possessions that have been boxed up and stored in their garage since 2019!
Nolan Booher is going to pick up the Dog bath for us and deliver it to the SHB site, and I did find a concrete flatwork crew to help us out with the last of the slabs just outside the new therapy room. The owner of Bam Construction, Ruben has agreed to meet at the site soon to evaluate the job for us, and to see how best he can contribute.
Part of the main goals associated with helping Jayson and his family get in a safe and secure home was the prospect of eliminating some of the many appointments he has every week for physical therapy. That’s the reason for the therapy room and covered patios. Jayson currently has a very old hot tub with a pump that is going out. As you can see in the picture below, it is a very hazardous and unsafe situation for him to get in and out of the tub. We just recently added a temporary cover, some slip-resistant roofing material on the slippery deck, and a couple grab bars to get him through.
Jayson sometimes has to get in the hot tub 10 to 12 times throughout the night to ease the pain and discomfort he continuously has to endure. Nothing in the picture below meets the building code!
I finally feel secure in the funding we have left to complete the home now, and may have a little cash leftover, which I plan on trying to use for a more elaborate exercising spa. It is very difficult for him to get exercise with his injuries and 49 surgeries to date–with more surely expected. He is going through muscle atrophy now which is a very serious condition that his doctors feel can be arrested or reversed if he had the opportunity to exercise. One of my last goals in the completion of this project, is to try to involve an exercising company that produces specialized exercising equipment. Most of the typical exercising equipment many of us use is not feasible for Jayson to use with his injuries, so it would be nice to find a piece of equipment that he can utilize efficiently, and a spa that would allow water aerobics or specialized exercising techniques.
Above is where the eventual new exercising spa will be placed. The two doors facing us are from the therapy room on the right, and master bathroom on the left. This is where the new patio slabs will go, and we will again float up a barely discernable ADA ramp, with a smooth transition.
Once the cabinets start going in, I am going to strategically try and arrange a project update with the media that has already helped us through the biggest part. We want to thank the folks below for their help in getting the story out there, to include, but need not be limited to: Kendal Bartley of KMTR, Grace Smith with KEZI, Get Real with Rick Dancer, the Building Safety Journal, the Cottage Grove Sentinel, Brett Rekamp with KXL in Portland, and good old Robb Holloway, of the morning “Wake-Up Call” with Holloway & London on KPNW 1120 AM. I need to put together some talking points for the update, and would like to push for a few more monetary donations to help with the spa, and a possible piece of specialized equipment for the therapy room; to go with a massage table.
To date I have roughly spent $72,886, of the total donated of $98,886, and think everything is accounted for except maybe some costs associated with the cabinets, kitchen counters, and finish work. The flooring and installation are going to cost about $12,000 which will leave me approximately $14,000 for these unforeseen costs, and taking a bite out of the costs of a spa.
Misty, Jayson, and myself are working on a beautification/clean-up party listing of things that can be done to help them make it a home just prior to the unveiling event. There are several organizations such as the Oregon Permit Technicians Association, OPTA, Chemeketa Community College’s Building Inspection Technology Program students, and a host of individuals that have expressed a desire to help out. Hopefully David Daugherty Landscape Architects will have a landscape plan for us to work off of shortly. Any thoughts and ideas on this would be welcome, and again, if anyone would like to tour the site, simply give me a call.
We’re definitely going to enjoy planting a beautiful American Flag in a strategic place in the front that honors this great country, and all the men & women that have fought for it, sacrificed for it, or gave their life for it!
It is time for us Americans to put aside our differences, reflect on the good things that this country has accomplished in the first 244 years, and remember that it’s “WE THE PEOPLE” that some seem hell bent on dividing. Let’s come together, once again, and prevent the possibility of loosing our country & the freedoms we maybe have started taking for granted.
Yours in Building Safety, “and” Guarding Our Veterans,
Jason Bush, CBO