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Mike Reno is home sweet home

Our Neighbor Inc. client returns to house after flooding

POSTED: October 11, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Mike Reno is back in his Prior Street basement apartment after it was repaired for flooding damage. Our Neighbor Inc. Executive Director Mary Margaret Calvert, above at left, said $2,500 is still owed for the $15,000 repairs. Care giver Michelle Graham, center, and Reno's dog "Georgie" sit in his living room Thursday.

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After anxiously awaiting flood damage repairs and hoping to have a place of his own again, Mike Reno has finally moved back into his house.

“I am glad to be home,” said the Gainesville man, who is a client with Our Neighbor Inc., which provides his home on Prior Street. “They did a good job ... and yes, I like it.”

Reno had to temporarily move out of his home more than a month ago because of safety concerns. Summer rains flooded the basement-situated home in June and July, soaking the interior walls causing a construction hazard and giving rise to mold. These issues led Reno to vacate his house while Our Neighbor repaired the home with the help of community sponsors. Pro Restoration conducted the actual repair work, which cost an estimated $15,000.

“It rained the other day and guess what? No water leaked in anywhere,” Reno said.

Our Neighbor Executive Director Mary Margaret Calvert agreed.

“They’ve done an excellent job, and it looks phenomenal,” she said of the help provided by a repair crew and the quality of the additions to the home.

Calvert said the repairs were no small project.

“They pulled down the interior walls on the whole back side of the house and waterproofed it, and then put in what’s called a French drain along the two back walls that will sump pump out any water that does come in,” she said. “Then they ripped out all of the walls in the front of the house that had water damage.”

Besides the electrical hazard of standing water near an electric bed and chair lift — which Reno uses routinely — large amounts of mold were a health concern. During the repair process, mold was not only found on the exterior of the walls, but deep in the interior. Both the insulation and sheetrock in the walls were replaced.

To prevent flooding from reoccurring, additional precautions were installed.

“They’ve added some new gutters and a new roof line off the back of the house, which will direct the water away from the house,” she said.

Calvert added a second automatic sump pump was placed under the front stairway of the home, so no water can get inside from any point.

Throughout the process, Calvert said she was grateful for Reno’s cooperation. She added she heard no complaints from the patient resident. During the repair process, Reno lived with Randy Owens, an original volunteer with Our Neighbor.

But now a celebration is in order to mark Reno’s return to his home on Prior Street. A move-in lunch and pizza party will be Tuesday.

Calvert said the home has not been redecorated, but volunteers will work at the party to make the house feel like a home again.

“We need to rehang the pictures and get his TV mounted and that kind of stuff,” she said.

Calvert said support from partners in the community was critical to completing the work and raising money for the repairs.

Calvert said a pizza party fundraiser in September, hosted by Surgical Care Affiliates, was a large success. The company hosted the party for Our Neighbor residents as an effort to get employees involved in donating.

Oysterfest 2013 was another community fundraising effort. Calvert said the project, sponsored by Main Street Gainesville and Scott’s, was another success.

“The Oysterfest on the square at Scott’s was helpful,” she said. “They donated money as well for Mike’s repairs.”

She noted Surgical Care Affiliates, Georgia Power Foundation and Watkins Total Healthcare were “generous donors,” some of which are planning to volunteer for the organization during its fourth annual Giant Book Sale on Oct. 25-27 at the old Regions Bank building. A preview sale will be from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 24, with a $5 admission fee. Admission is free for the main sale, which will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 25-26 and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 27.


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