This summer, Columbus native William Cummings received a piece of life-changing news: all of the blood vessels in his (left/right) leg were dead as a result of a gangrene infection and his leg would have to be amputated below the knee.
The 77-year-old Army veteran had been active his whole life, working for 43 years as a mail carrier after the service, as well as serving 18 years on his local school board. According to his wife, Madeline, after retiring from the Post Office he got hired at Kook Company as a janitor because he didn’t like staying still for too long.
Despite the daunting news, Cummings never let the situation overwhelm him.
“He is doing great,” said Madeline. “We are both Christians and his spirits have always been high. If the doctor says it’s necessary to be done, it has to be done.”
However, the Cummings soon realized there were more changes they needed to prepare for, including expensive home modifications so William could function safely in his home. The initial estimate for all the modifications—raised toilets and shower railings in the bathrooms—came to over $2000, and the Cummings knew they needed to reach out for help.
Madeline immediately called a friend from church who’s a retired veteran, and he referred her to a local veteran’s agency. The agency called Military Veterans Resource Center to see if we could help, and within the day MVRC Veterans Services Specialist Herb Jones called Madeline to see what could be done.
“Since this was a big home repair, we knew it would be the perfect job for 3rd& Goal Veterans Home Aid,” said Veterans Services Specialist Doug Schultz, who also serves on the 3rd&Goal’s Board of Directors.
3rd & Goal was established by Dublin native, former Notre Dame and NFL Quarterback, Brady Quinn to assist veterans at-risk for homelessness or in need of home improvements to make their lives more accessible. Founded in 2011, in addition to building safe, secure and clean homes in supportive environments, the organization also partners with local and national veterans organizations to help strengthen veterans’ lives.
“I called Brady and he told me to go out do what needed to be done, and we did,” said Schultz.
Schultz called the Villacios Remodeling, and within three days they took measurements, installed all of the new equipment and had the home ready for Cummings when he was ready to be released from rehab.
“They did great, even when we came across a few bumps in the road,” said Madeline. “At one point we thought we were going to need to bring in a plumber because they had to go behind the wall in the bathroom, but one of the remodelers said, ‘I’m a plumber too.’”
This fall, William returned home where little by little he continues to improve. Cummings says he is grateful for the home repairs, which have helped him adjust to using a prosthetic. Although things aren’t like they use to be, the additions have made a tremendous difference in the quality of life for this US Army veteran
“They completed all of the work and they did it quickly. I very much appreciate Mr. Quinn, Herb, Doug and everyone involved,” said Madeline.