Sailors help 85-year-old homeowner cited by City of Portsmouth

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 3, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Updated Saturday, May 3 at 8:11 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- Sturgis Thomas has lived his home since 1960. When city inspectors posted a note on his door, saying that he needed to fix up the house or face fines,  the 85-year-old did not know where to turn.

He started with his neighbor, Sharon Ballard.

"Eyes watered up, so he had tears in his eyes, and he just didn't know what he was going to do and wanted to know if we can help him because he has trouble talking on the phone," said Ballard told 13News Now.

Ballard posted let her friend, Sharon Mason, know about the need for help on Facebook.

Mason is the residency coordinator at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Community service is a top priority with the lieutenant physicians under her supervision. Suddenly, an entire team of help was available for Thomas.

"I put an email out," explained intern Austin Yoder, "put out some feelers, and a lot of people responded, so it was a pretty easy decision."

"They volunteered, and they bought the paint, and they bought the supplies," said Mason.

The first-year military interns scraped and cleaned, pretty much going to war against Thomas' home, giving it a major spruce up, helping him avoid any penalties.

"I feel warm in the heart. I feel a foot taller," Thomas said, beaming. "I feel a foot taller!"
 

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