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Home repair volunteers brave cold temps to improve veterans’ home

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Single-digit temperatures aren't stopping volunteers from helping improve the homes and lives of veterans.

A group of volunteers is teaming up with The Home Depot Tuesday to install a wheelchair ramp for two Army veterans.

"We enjoy doing it," said John Jepson, a volunteer with HopeBuilders Home Repair. "It kind of gives you a warm feeling to help people that need help. A lot of times there's no place else for them to turn for this. Wheelchair ramps are one of the things we specialize in."

Raymond Hutt, 64, recently had one leg amputated because of a blood clot and is using a wheelchair while he learns to walk again with a prosthetic leg.

With his current situation getting out the door of his home has proven to be nearly impossible for the Vietnam veteran. His son-in-law, a Desert Storm Army veteran, suffered a hernia while trying to carry Hutt down the stairs. That's why volunteers from HopeBuilders Home Repair and Team Depot are building a porch and ramp onto the front of their house.

"My father-in-law was in physical therapy trying to learn how to walk with his new prosthetic, and the social workers there told us about HopeBuilders," said Steve Markovich, Hutt's son-in-law. "They ended up coming out and evaluating our front yard and everything and realized we definitely needed a ramp to get him out of the house."

Markovich suffers from chronic pain but says the ramp will make it much easier to get his father-in-law back and forth to physical therapy so he can learn to walk again.

This project is estimated to cost about $2,500 in materials alone. Giving back to veterans is personal for The Home Depot. More than 35,000 of the retailer's workers have served in the military.