North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
August 15, 2016
District leader due
          Rotary District 5080 Gov. Kees van der Pol, of Nakusp, British Columbia, visits the club Aug. 22.  He will meet with club officers and directors at 11 a.m. next Monday.
          In the current district web site posting, van der Pol said he visited 12 of the district clubs in July.  “It is apparent that membership loss, stagnation and lack of growth is on the minds of all,” he said adding, the district has lost four clubs in the last five years: Hillyard, Cheney and West in Spokane and Beaver Valley.
Repairs offered to disabled vets
            Kevin Oxley calls it “getting the bug” – the strong desire to help disabled veterans with routine home repair chores.
            “I’m not a rich guy.  I can’t build them a house.  But I can fix things,” Oxley told the club Aug. 15.           
            Oxley has started a non-profit agency called Free Handyman for Disabled Veterans at 12213E. Trent, a one-acre leased site at Trent and Pines.  Using volunteers and a “contractor commitment program,” he helps vets with projects from plumbing and wiring, to roof repairs and installing smoke detectors, to yard care to deck rebuilding.  His agency also gets a lot of requests for wheelchair ramps. Most repair jobs “average $200 to $300,” he said.
            Since opening the office in May, Oxley said, 86 home repair jobs have been completed.  Another 159 jobs are waiting to be done, he said, adding “two or three or four people a day come to the office.  Everyone has a story.  How do you pick who you help?” he asked.
            Some repair jobs will wait until winter, when contractors and their crews are less busy than during the peak building season, Oxley said.
            He said the agency budget relies heavily on donations, but also has some support from the Long Beach, Calif., Flying Wheels disabled vets basketball program and the makers of Old Hickory Buildings and Sheds.  That business, using Amish and Mennonite construction methods, remits 10 percent of building and shed purchase prices to help disabled vets.  “Last month we received $5,000 on $50,000 sales of sheds,” Oxley said.
            Oxley said he never served in the military, just missing the Vietnam-era draft.  He lived in Spokane decades ago, but moved to California to help his ailing mom, but returned, preferring “the small-town community support.  Spokane is a good military town,” he said.
            He said his program does not get referrals from the Veterans Administration.
            “It’s hard for a lot of people to ask for help,” Oxley said.  “They are in tears in my office.”
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Brad Stark