There were very few flowers growing on
That was not the case in 2014 when she and a four other veterans and several other volunteers worked to restore the
Gray and her fellow veterans were part of a building restoration team sponsored by HistoriCorps, a nonprofit organization based in
When deciding if she should join the project Gray did a reconnaissance mission taking a trip to the site from her hometown of
This summer's project marks the third year in a row that the
Veterans join HistoriCorps through partnerships with the
"We have been called a hybrid between a construction company and an outdoor adventure company," Anderson said. "We proudly say that the higher the quality of the experience of the volunteer, veteran and student, the higher the quality of the product we deliver to our project sponsors and partners."
Anderson said all of the restoration work is completed to the
Calling the organization a "step-on, step-off operation," Anderson said HistoriCorps provides building assessments, cost estimating, proposals and project management. The team arrives on-site with expertise, truck, trailer, tools, equipment and camp kitchen.
"We do this in remote and spectacularly beautiful places for weeks at a time," he added.
In addition to their work at
Veterans can earn a certificate in historic preservation or degree in Historic Building Technology through a HistoriCorps' partnership with
"Our work has all the attributes for helping veterans re-integrate into civilian society - community and public service, team building and team work, leadership and discipline, and a well-defined public purpose," he said. "In addition, the skills they learn will serve them for life and career if they choose, and they are transferable to the mainstream construction industry."
"I was looking for work. I was on a job (Web) site and saw a couple of links. I found this one (to HistoriCorps) and it sounded interesting," said retired
MacDonald, who deployed to
"It was awesome. I decided 'I'm coming back," she said, and returned to the site for the final week of the project.
One of the biggest challenges was learning how to operate an articulating saw, she said.
"We had to take the logs off the side of the building and cut them at an angle and then match them to logs to the same dimensions," MacDonald said. "I have never done anything like that. I felt like I learned something. I accomplished something."
The former senior noncommissioned officer said veterans should take a closer look at the opportunities provided by HistoriCorps.
"You got to get online and find out where the next project is," she said. "They are a great organization. You get good food, good training and it's a great opportunity."
In addition to the volunteers, three on-site HistoriCorps managers supervised the work and provided training.
Volunteers from the
Livingston's granddaughter, the late
During their three weeks' work, the volunteers replaced the one-story building's rotted wooden siding, sealed the exterior wood, installed four window wells, repaired and installed screens on the building's three cupolas and replaced several missing rafters, said
Last summer, a crew replaced the cedar shake roofing, began restoration work on the three cupolas and repaired deteriorated log ends.
"I was impressed with their wonderful spirit," said McKay. "They were happy to be working."
"The veterans' training at
"The veterans' and volunteers' labor and skills helps
Work on the
"This place has been a pretty neat place to come to since the last ice age. This is a very significant piece of land that belongs to the public. We have a treasure that we can develop for the public good," he continued.
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