Swampscott Man Spearheads Veterans' Home Project

Patrick Burke will be leading a volunteer project for the Habitat P.L.U.S. Veterans Home at 516 — 520 Essex St. in Lynn on Sept. 14 and 15. The work will include painting, installing stairs, fall clean-up. You are invited to help or make a donation to the


Last year, the volunteers led by Patrick Burke of Swampscott sawed and hammered a porch for the psychiatrically challenged and once homeless veterans to gather upon.

The volunteers installed a flagpole to solidify the residents' fellow feeling.

This year volunteers will be back at the Habitat P.L.U.S. Veterans Home, 516 — 520 Essex St., in Lynn on Sept. 14 and 15. 

They will paint, rebuild stairs, install windows and landscape.

They will provide service to a home that gives critical service to those who lost their way after serving their country.

Patrick and his crew's renovation help is invaluable, said Susan Campbell, who 23 years ago was a co-founder of Habitat P.L.U.S.

"I can't tell you how wonderful and what a gift it was to have them come," she said.

The nonprofit home receives some assistance from the state and is a licensed VA transitional and permanent home for veterans.

But it is really hard to get money from funding sources for operations such as stairs replacement, window installment, masonry, the co-founder said. 

Last year, 25 volunteers worked on renovation projects at the home on one day and 25 volunteers worked the next.

The rebuilding and beautifying helps the three fulltime people who work at the home and the 22 residents who live there strengthen Habitat P.L.U.S.

It is not a treatment facility — the residents receive those services outside the home — but the residents support each other in a place where they feel at peace.

"One man has been here twenty-two years and the average stay is almost twelve years," said Susan. "They come for stability — to be part of a veterans' family."

The veterans include elderly vets, those from Vietnam, and now from Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Patrick is a senior master sergeant in the US Air Force Reserves and served in the US Marine Corps.  

He has been on two deployments to the Middle East since 9/11.

He is an employee at General Electric in Lynn, which donates money for building stock for the renovation and provides a day off for a number of the volunteers to work on it.  

"My motivation is that these men served us and we can’t forget them," Patrick said. "My late Uncle Ed Burke was a Vietnam vet and he taught me to 'never forget' anyone that has served. He, my parents, and my grandfather, (Joseph Burke of Lynn -USMC WWII Vet) have been big motivating  forces for my military and community service."

In addition to the many GE volunteers, Patrick's grandfather, father and many other family members joined him at last year's renovation.  

Patrick is inviting anyone from any community to join him at the home on Sept 14. If they can’t make it, he asks thay they please consider visiting the home's website and making a donation.

As of today, there are still 80,000  troops in combat in Afghanistan and they will be home soon.

"Some might need a place to live," he said.


What: Habitat PLUS Renovation Project

How to Help: Looking for volunteers to help build a new set of stairs, install new windows, re-deck a porch, paint and do fall clean up on facility that serves our veterans.

When: September 14-15 (Friday & Saturday) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (volunteer for one day or both)

Where: 516 & 520 Essex St., Lynn

Questions/Info: Patrick Burke (patrick.burke@ge.com, ext. 4147) or Dave Reece(dave.reece@ge.com, ext. 3031)



Liz August 31, 2012 at 04:42 PM


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