Golf outing to benefit nonprofit's vision of house for individuals with disabilities
Chris McGough grew up with friends in North Fayette who treated him like one of the guys.
McGough, 25, who has Down syndrome, worked his way up from water boy to ball boy and then manager for sports teams in middle and high school, said Tyler Palko, 30, a former University of Pittsburgh quarterback who played for the Steelers and three other National Football League teams.
McGough's parents expected him to keep his grades up, too, said Palko, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Kansas City.
“You won't find anyone more socially developed than him,” Palko said.
McGough was the inspiration for a partnership Palko and McGough's father, Steve McGough, 55, formed to establish the TC House Foundation. The nonprofit began raising money in 2005 to build a single-family house in which four adults with Down syndrome could live independently. Its annual golf outing is next week.
“We started construction in mid-February and hope to get the guys in probably around Labor Day,” said Mike Cain, project executive at North Side-based Mascaro Construction, which donated labor and materials to the project.
The 4,000-square-foot home in Findlay will have a finished basement with a game room and kitchenette. The main floor will have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, one of which is handicapped-accessible, and a kitchen, Cain said.
“It looks and feels like a residential house,” said Bob Corcoran, secretary of TC House's board of directors.
The TC House — the letters in the name represent Palko's and Chris McGough's first names — is a labor of love for North Fayette residents. Volunteers stepped up to help with fundraisers, such as an annual golf tournament, and construction tasks.
“That's the thing that I'm most proud of,” said Palko, who chairs the board.
Chris McGough helped, too.
“I get to carry stuff,” said McGough, who likes the home's deck.
The foundation raised about $250,000 in donations and $150,000 worth of in-kind contributions pledged in labor and materials. Construction companies donated labor and concrete, paint and other supplies. TC House still needs $150,000.
The golf outing usually raises $30,000, Corcoran said.
Chris McGough, who lives with his family, is one of the four people who will live in the house. TC House is working with Achieva, a nonprofit provider of services for people with disabilities, to identify others who could live there without an on-site caregiver or medical assistance, Corcoran said.
“We're heavily relying on Achieva's guidance of finding individuals who are compatible … whose needs will be met by the kind of house this is.”
So far, one man has been selected to live with McGough.
Those involved with the project note a shortage of homes for people with special needs.
“There is a crying need for housing for individuals with disabilities, especially high-functioning individuals with disabilities,” Corcoran said.
Chris McGough works at Achieva's workshop in Bridgeville, building wood pallets that the company sells, his father said.
“I'm very excited for him, because I know that I'm close enough to make sure that when he falls, I'm there to watch him, but I can also stay in the background and see if he gets back up without my help,” Steve McGough said.
Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.