LGBTQ+ group builds vets homes

Resident Megan Young-Bryden and her mother Nicole Young-Bryden work together to mix cement at Home 4 Familes 2nd annual Rainbow Build. Michele Lutes/The Signal

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and veterans came together Saturday for the Homes 4 Families second annual Rainbow Build, located at the veterans housing tract off of Centre Pointe Parkway.

“The Rainbow Build is to show our support of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Donna Deutchman, president and CEO of Homes 4 Families.

More than 70 volunteers focused on building driveways and completing the finished carpentry in nine houses that will close escrow in December.

“It means a lot to know I am contributing towards the building of my own home,” said Julio Mares, U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “It is great engaging with the people who come out here and gave up so much of their time to help us build these communities.”

Mares has been attending building events with Homes 4 Families for the past year. His first build was the Rainbow Build last year, he said.

Resident Megan Young-Bryden and US Marine Corps veteran Julio Mares work together to mix cement at Home 4 Familes 2nd annual Rainbow Build. Michele Lutes/The Signal

“When we first started, this was all just dirt, then it was a slab of cement and now it is an actual home,” Mares said. “I can’t even explain it. It is still kind of surreal.”

Homes 4 Families is about celebrating the diversity of the veteran community, Deutchman said.

Rainbow Build Co-Chairs John Musella and his husband Ivan Volschenk worked on the finishing touches on the first floor of the nine homes.

“They are almost ready for the veterans to move into,” Musella said.

The Rainbow Build is a way for LGBTQ+ community to give back to veterans, Deutchman said. “(They) protect our freedoms abroad, the freedoms that we fought so hard for here at home, and those civil liberties,” Musella said. “It is important to give back to veterans that have done so much for us as a community.”

Volunteers were able to work alongside the veterans who will call their hard work home.

“We’re so used to serving in the service,” Mares said. “When we are out here it feels great to see others serving us. It is pretty humbling.”

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