Taking Care of Family, Clients & Community for Three Decades

Lee BIA Builders Care, Gulfpoint Construction and partners build accessible bathroom for Fort Myers WWII veteran and family

Lee BIA Builders Care has helped provide an elderly Fort Myers couple and their son with an accessible bathroom that enhances the family’s health and safety.

Ralph Hauser, 93, served aboard the USS Flaherty during World War II and was part of the crew that captured the German submarine U-505, which was the only German sub captured at sea by American troops during the war. When Hauser returned to Southwest Florida, he worked as a mechanic and was the longtime owner of a repair shop in downtown Fort Myers. Ralph is also a lifelong Boy Scout and has received many awards of merit for his contributions to a variety of philanthropic organizations.

Ralph, and his wife, Jackie, 88, live in the 1,227-square-foot home with their 60-year-old son, Frank, who is disabled. The family’s two-bedroom, one-bathroom home was built in 1956 and has experienced significant structural and safety issues that were magnified by Hurricane Irma.

A 2018 news story brought attention to the family’s plight, and the community helped provide the Hauser home with a new roof and air conditioning system. Builders Care also was aware of the situation, and soon realized the family had another critical need – its one and only bathroom was not accessible, making it difficult for the Hausers to use. Ralph has been using a walker, and the bathroom’s layout was not conducive to individuals using assistive devices.

Gulfpoint Construction Company, Inc. and other business partners gutted the existing bathroom and installed an accessible walk-in shower, comfort height toilet, wall mount sink and other features to accommodate the Hauser family’s safety and accessibility. In addition to the bathroom renovation, project partners also replaced the exterior side garage door and added a new coating of paint to the home’s exterior.

The Hauser family relies on Social Security and a disability check to cover basic expenses, but that leaves little money for major household repairs like a bathroom renovation.

“The Hausers have lived in the same home for more than 60 years, but they aren’t in a position financially to pay for a renovation project,” said Becky Swift, executive director of Lee BIA Builders Care. “As a community, we have a responsibility to help our neighbors during their times of need, and I’m so thankful Gulfpoint Construction teamed with Lee BIA Builders Care to help the Hausers.”

Additional project partners included Wildcat Renovation, Franzese Plumbing, Commercial Concrete, American Drywall, ReSource Flooring, Service Contracting Solutions and Gatewood Custom Carpentry.

Over the past 12 years, Lee BIA Builders Care has helped more than 400 individuals and families by providing wheelchair ramps, roof replacements, remodeling projects and other critical repairs that allow deserving families to live safely and comfortably in their own homes.

About Lee BIA Builders Care

Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (Lee BIA). The mission of Lee BIA Builders Care is to provide emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and/or disabled homeowners, and their families, who cannot obtain repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $4.5 million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Builders Care and the Lee BIA are headquartered at 6835 International Center Blvd. #4 in Fort Myers. The Lee Building Industry Association (www.BIA.net) is a 64-year-old association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders and Florida Home Builders Association that serves to promote, protect and preserve homeownership, private property rights and affordable housing by advocating for balanced laws, regulation and fees through member education and outreach. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.com. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056. Follow Builders Care at Facebook.com/LeeBuildersCare or on Twitter @LeeBuildersCare.

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