The HPD “rebuilders” returned to action, this time to use gallons of sweat equity to spruce up a lady’s home in the Fifth Ward.
“Here come the angels!” Mrs. Detrie Gloyd shouted as Commander Jonathan Zera and the first of four days of HPD officers/crew members officially undertook the remodeling of this gracious homeowner’s abode.
It was yet another partnership between the Department and Rebuilding Together Houston (RTH), one that has been ongoing for a number of years now and continues at the rate of two HPD/RTH projects every year when schedules allow.
RTH furnishes the building materials and the HPD crew – as these pictures by HPD’s Matt Fowler will attest – puts in the sweat equity.
Commander Zera – as you would expect from the leader of the Crime Analysis Division – laid out a plan of attack at 1200 Travis before dispatching the volunteer troops armed with hammers, nails and paint brushes – to the scene of the event.
Over the five days (Oct. 14-19), Zera and Sgt. Bryan Powell, the de facto straw boss, “supervised” at least three or four dozen officers of all ranks and even some retired personnel who had been on similar projects in the past. They included retired Chief Mark Curran and retired Officer Gene Adolph.
The point we shall emphasize here is that the Department partners with the community not only to catch the criminals lurking there but to lend a hand (many hands) to solid citizens in great need. For instance, each project involves a worthy homeowner like Mrs. Gloyd.
“I have been blessed this past week,” Mrs. Gloyd wrote to Police Chief Art Acevedo, “to have my home restored by Rebuilding Houston.” She said in the letter that Acevedo’s “army of volunteers” brought “hope back into our hearts.”
Over many years, accumulations of old wood, debris and muddy yard objects stacked up on the property. Mrs. Gloyd made it clear that the HPD “angels” didn’t leave a stone unturned or hauled away.
“Words will never express my gratitude and appreciation, Chief Acevedo, for your wonderful volunteers that transformed my house and changed my life,” she wrote. Their time, energy, dedication, kindness, love and expertise was put into their daily routine of helping to restore my home.”
She thanked Commander Zera and his “team of ladies and gentlemen” who participated in the rebuilding process.
Everyone shared meals together at a carefully arranged food preparation facility set up across the street.
Retired Chief Curran has participated in numerous rebuilding projects that matched HPD officers of all ranks with Rebuilding Houston Together and remodeling homes in communities throughout the city.
“It’s a good opportunity to get away from the desk or out of the patrol car and help people in the community,” Curran said.
You can call Curran a historian of sorts as a leader in many of the rebuild efforts. He believes HPD “rebuilders” have been a part of about two dozen projects, some helping retired officers or those who have been injured in the line of duty.
“The guys rebuilt three sides of the lady’s house,” he explained. “They will be back in the spring to finish the fourth side. They put a little porch on the back. The owner is still pretty mobile so no wheelchair ramp was needed.”
The latter amenity mentioned is just one specialty of Officer Leo Flores, a master carpenter and construction engineer. Curran said Flores has been a key participant in many of the HPD rebuilds. “He knows the city codes and he was out there building the deck. We also had to build a water heater closet outside. His instructions and guidance are always needed and appreciated.
“Commander Zera also is another example of talents outside of law enforcement expertise.”
Over the last decade the Department has tried to do two rebuild projects per year but can’t always achieve that goal due to scheduling conflicts. Or as Curran pointed out, “You can’t always achieve that goal due to the scheduling involved.”
Photos by Matt Fowler