Nafziger Family

Steven Nafziger's Story

As Steven Nafziger was driving around Bloomington one day, he spotted an A Brush with Kindness sign in the yard of a home being worked on. He needed some work on his own home, and when he saw Habitat McLean County had a repair program in addition to the new-home builds, he decided to call. He was already familiar with our mission, as his niece, Casey Butler, partnered with us to build her own home several years ago.

Nafziger, 64, is retired from retail management and was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico when he purchased his home in 2008. While he planned his move to Bloomington, Steven’s sister and her family moved into the Illinois home on Bunn St. He and his partner Scott moved to Illinois and into this home in 2012.

He approximates that when the home was built in 2002, so was the deck between the home and garage. Since then, it was become unsafe and in disrepair. “There were parts of the deck that you had to be really careful on because it was starting to give way.” said Nafziger. Since he uses either a walker or wheelchair, he hadn’t been able to cross that deck to his own back yard for quite some time. He decided the best thing to do was to get rid of the raised wooden deck and replace it with a cement pad.

As the condition of the deck worsened, Steven knew he had to do something immediately. However, his disability prevented him from doing the work himself. His need fit Habitat McLean County’s criteria and he was accepted into the A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) program.  ABWK removed the old deck, hired a subcontractor to pour a new concrete pad, and coordinated with Ambucs to build Steven a wheelchair ramp.

“I was just amazed with how quickly things went once we made contact with Todd,” Steven said about the application process.

After Habitat ABWK Coordinator Todd Heiniger and his crew removed the old decking, chopped it up, and hauled it away, “Todd even came back and made some temporary steps until the cement went in,” said Steven. “That is really cool that he oversaw the project, but yet participated as well.”

After the cement had cured, Ambucs came right away and built the much need ramp outside the home.

“I was surprised they were able to move so quickly,” he said. “We didn’t think it would happen until May, and when it happened in December, we were quite happy with that.”

With the new level concrete pad, Nafziger can now use the flat surface to get to his back yard. One of the first things he did was take some fallen twigs and put them in the fire pit and sat outside eating s’mores with Scott and their cat Patches, while their dog Rusty ran happily around the fire.

Nafziger is appreciative of this project and the work from Habitat and Ambucs. He invited some of his siblings to check out his new pad and ramp, making sure they knew the ABWK program existed, should they need help down the road.