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Lee Builders Care builds ramp for Pine Island Navy veteran

By Staff | Jul 8, 2020

From left are Crystal Stouten (Builders Care executive director), Mandi Wray (Builders Care director of client services and projects), Dan Pickard, Jayson Rider and Francis Gersic. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CAMILLE GERSIC

After Pine Island resident and Navy veteran Francis Gersic suffered a stroke, and his legs became immobilized due to neuropathy, he had no choice but to use a wheelchair. His daughter, Camille Gersic, recalls that her father began to lose circulation in his legs and watched as walking became more and more difficult for him.

“He suffered a stroke a couple of months ago,” said Camille. “After that he could stand with the help of a walker but he’s no longer able to move on his own.”

Longtime neighbor Jayson Rider, who’s very familiar with the Lee Building Industry Association Builders Care, encouraged Camille to reach out to the organization on behalf of her father. After applying for help, Camille said the non-profit organization came out and built the ramp that would allow Francis to enter and exit his own home.

“Prior to the stroke, it was his favorite pasttime to ride the neighborhood on his golf cart, talking to the neighbors,” said Camimlle. “After he had the stroke, the neighbors started contacting us because they hadn’t seen him out and about. We are hoping to get his golf cart modified to enable him to get onto it easily so that he can get out and enjoy the neighborhood again.

“All of my sisters (Michelle, Chris and Suzy) would love to mention his cats and his love for them and appreciation for Helping Paws on the island.”

Before he suffered the stroke, Camille said her father could sometimes manage the two steps to go out to the mailbox, but now enjoys the mobility offered by the generosity of Lee BIA Builders Care, which utilizes many volunteers and donations made by local organizations, such as Honc Industries and Garden Street Portables.

The purpose of Builders Care is to promote safe and healthy housing and to improve the quality of life for some of Southwest Florida’s most vulnerable residents. Recipients are primarily elderly and/or disabled individuals of all ages who are in financial need and are living with housing conditions that pose a safety or health threat.

For additional information, please contact Lee BIA Builders Care, which is located at 6835 International Center Blvd., unit #4, Fort Myers, FL 33912, call 239-938-0056 or visit leebuilderscare.com