‘It’s a blessing.’ Branford vet gets repairs through Home, Safe Home program

BRANFORD — With cooler nights and the winter chill on the horizon, veteran Keith Brooks said he is feeling fortunate to have new insulated windows in his home.

“This is a blessing,” said Brooks, standing outside his DeForest Drive home on a sunny fall day as volunteers worked on his home.

The work project is part of Stamford-based HomeFront’s Home, Safe Home campaign to improve living conditions for 80 local families this year who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also provides free home repairs to people who cannot afford to maintain their home or are physically unable to do so, through volunteers.

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“I’m so grateful because of the fact that somebody’s doing something good for me. I’ve been through a lot the last few years,” Blake said.

The pop of nail guns and whir of drills could be heard while some eight parishioners from St. John Bosco Parish in Branford worked from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23, to replace 15 windows and clean out his basement.

Brooks served in the U.S. Coast Guard. His wife, Margaret, died in 2020 of cancer and Brooks,74, has been having financial trouble, he said. He recently pulled up all the carpet in his house and the drafty windows were original to the 40-year-old house.

“I’m pretty handy with my hands, but it’s gotten difficult because I’m dealing with a pinched nerve right now,” Brooks said. “But I’ll never leave this house. I’ve been here for 40 years and this is home.”

Sean O’Brien, executive director of HomeFront explained the importance of the work the organization does, especially right now.