Hosannas for nonprofit helping to fix Tarentum man's house

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The sounds of home repairs can be considered as an annoyance to homeowners, but they're music to the ears of one Tarentum resident.

Richard Simpson, who lives at 529 Third Ave., is having much-needed new siding put on his house — a service provided for free from Hosanna Industries Inc.

Hosanna Industries is a nonprofit Christian organization that provides home repairs to residents who can't afford them.

Simpson is grateful to receive the work.

“I'm just trying to help with whatever they need,” Simpson said after he hoisted a ladder onto his roof for workers.

Simpson, 52, grew up in the house and inherited it in 2000. He said the repairs have been needed for many years, but working a minimum wage job made paying for it difficult.

“I'm just really glad that I was able to hear about Hosanna,” Simpson said. “It's like a godsend.”

Becky Hetzer, who has been with Hosanna Industries for 18 years, is one of the mission workers doing the repairs. She said the appreciation shown from Simpson when he found out he was getting the siding was what makes the job worth doing.

“The way that he looked me in the eye was enough to bring tears,” Hetzer said.

Hetzer said the job is rewarding and gratifying on many levels.

“I have found it to be the best way to express my personal faith,” she said. “I can't see myself doing anything else.”

Katie DeJournette, who has been a mission worker with Hosanna Industries for more than two years, agrees.

“It's very rewarding to see the smiles on the clients' faces,” DeJournette said. “It's a good feeling.”

DeJournette said she feels like she was meant to do the work.

Her great uncle, the Rev. Richard Morledge, is pastor emeritus at First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown, where the organization was founded and several family members have worked with Hosanna.

Simpson's siding project is expected to be finished today with the help of around 30 volunteers.

Hosanna lauded

It's these kinds of projects and stories that helped Hosanna Industries be selected as a “Champion in Action” by Trib Total Media, Citizens Bank, WPXI-TV, and Pittsburgh Cares.

The award comes with a $35,000 grant provided by the Citizens Charitable Foundation and increased exposure of the organization through Trib Total Media coverage, that of WPXI-TV and promotional materials. The Valley News Dispatch is a Trib Total Media newspaper.

“We were so excited,” said Julie Wettach, mission worker with Hosanna Industries. “This grant means so much because it comes not only with the financial help for Hosanna to work with our clients, but it also comes with all the press that will be so helpful to Hosanna as well.”

Wettach said the grant money will be enough to help 12 households with home repairs like the one in Tarentum.

Hosanna helps about 150 households each year.

Hosanna will use it for projects like siding, new roofing, furnace repair or replacement, new windows, kitchen upgrades, plumbing or electrical, she said.

Beth Crow, with Citizens Bank, said the award is given out twice a year for small non-profits who have a budget of $1 million or less.

“These are organizations that often can't compete up against more well-funded (organizations),” Crow said.

Crow said the bank's ATM slips and video kiosks in western Pennsylvania will have information about Hosanna Industries.

A check presentation will be held at noon on Thursday at one of the organization's work sites. The location had not been determined as of Monday.

Hetzer, who works on many of the home repair sites, expressed her gratitude for the grant which will help fund them.

“It's a blessing,” she said.

Emily Balser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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