Thanks to the nonprofit organization Naperville Responds For our Veterans (NRFOV), military veterans in almost 100 surrounding communities can get their homes repaired or renovated at no cost, says Jack Persin, a Naperville area REALTOR® and Navy veteran.
“I’ve found veterans have never been thanked enough for their service,” says Persin, NRFOV president. “Many are handicapped or amputees, and even though they may be in need, they do not tend to ask for help. Through donations from partners like Home Depot, we can make repairs to homes at no cost to the veterans.”
History of helping
Following several years of fundraising and volunteering for a preceding organization, Naperville Responds to (Hurricane) Katrina, Persin met with two friends, Illinois REALTORS® Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell and then Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel. From 2005 to 2008, the organization had helped construct 21 homes in Pass Christian, MS. Now Persin wanted to assist men and women returning from military service in Iran and Afghanistan. So they formed NRFOV to facilitate donations of money, building materials and professional labor for military veterans and family members – of low to moderate income — who are in need or in crisis.
Recent NRFOV projects have included helping a wheelchair-bound veteran who needed about $30,000 of repairs to his home to rescue it from condemned status. In another project, he said, a visible hole in a roof and mold growth in a home needed to be repaired and appropriately remedied. So far this year, NRFOV has completed eight projects and is in the process of performing four more.
“This organization and what it can do for veterans is very important to me,” says Persin.
The reactions of veterans they help, Persin says, can sometimes energize the volunteers who raise money or give their time to provide necessary labor. In one case, he remembered a Vietnam veteran who thanked NRFOV and gratefully said, “My life is about to change.”
Gorrell says, “I am so grateful for Jack’s continued leadership and willingness to give so much time and passion for our nation’s most deserving recipients!”
For a list of communities served by NRFOV, go here.
Persin became a REALTOR® in 1988 and soon became involved in the DuPage Association of REALTORS®, serving on its board of directors in the 1990s. In 2005, he joined the board of directors for the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, and in 2011, he served as co-president during a merger of Mainstreet and another local association.
He also served on eight different committees with Illinois REALTORS®, including the board of directors in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Persin is a broker associate for Baird & Warner in Naperville.
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