Some are almost done, others are in the middle, but some haven’t begun home repairs after Hurricane Irma. Terri Metter is one of the latter. A Keys resident for eight years, her first hurricane experience was in 2017 and it was a doozy.
“I did a lot of soul searching,” she said, speaking of whether to repair the damage to her mobile home located in Trailers by the Sea in Marathon, one of six out of 46 to survive the storm. But then, she received $1,000 in grant money from the American Legion Riders, raised at the Coral Head Music Festival.
“It’s seed money. I could finally call my contractor and ask him to begin because I had something to pay him with,” she said.
The American Legion Riders have already distributed most of the $40,000 to applicants. The small grants come in the form of a gift card to a local lumberyard.
“Once we give them the money, they have about 30 days to use it or it rolls back into the fund to assist others who could use a little help,” said Rich Anderson, coordinator of the Coral Head Music Festival and an American Legion Rider.
Bryan Agababian is volunteering his time to the Riders by helping verify that those applying for help can actually use it. He’s a state certified building contractor and licensed home inspector.
“This is not ‘replace-the-roof’ money. This is money to help with emergency repairs like replacing an electric circuit box,” Agababian said. “I go out and take a look at the homes and verify there is a need.”
The grants are going to Marathon and Big Pine Key residents. Many in Marathon have already visited Marathon Lumber looking to buy the bits and pieces they need. One of them, Nicole Noyed, actually works there. She said she spent the weekend moving some household contents back into place after storing them for six months in a camper.
“We’re almost done,” she said.
American Legion Riders donated other funds raised at Coral Head Music Festival to Project Vet: Relief and Marathon High School student scholarships. It is still accepting donations in hopes of funding more homeowners in need of micro money. More information is available from Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.