Army veteran Marc Dervaes

Army veteran Marc Dervaes of Colorado Springs works Saturday at the home of disabled veteran Ricky Spry in Howard. Dervaes said he served for years in the U.S. Army infantry and retired in 2011.

Thirteen volunteers from Colorado Springs and Howard came together Saturday to assist with a cleanup project for disabled veteran Ricky Spry.

Spry was awarded a Purple Heart during the Iraqi War and is a former Chaffee County sheriff’s deputy. He suffered a stroke because of his previous wounds and now lives with his mother, Hilda, 83, who is his primary caregiver.

The project was hosted by Team River Runner – Colorado Springs, Warriors in Recovery and Rebuilding Together – Colorado Springs.

Lowe’s stores Nos. 2086 and 1099, in Colorado Springs, donated materials to the project.

Maria Hernandez, working with Warriors in Recovery of Colorado Springs, spearheaded the project after Spry’s caseworker contacted her about assistance Spry and his mother needed with the yard in Howard.

“His caseworker in North Carolina reached out to River Runners to get him help,” Hernandez said.

She said Spry had been part of River Runners’ adaptive kayaking program for disabled veterans, and River Runners collaborates with Rebuilding Together in Colorado Springs.

Saturday’s volunteer session included painting the interior and exterior of the dog shed, installing faux turf, adding a shade cloth overhead and weeding throughout the yard after the bigger tasks were finished.

“The event has very much been a success,” Hernandez said. “I think the drive and the weather may have deterred some people from coming out to help, but overall it’s been very successful.”

Hernandez said some of the volunteers had never met before, but were working together seamlessly to get the task completed.

Volunteer Xavi Biship-Falu of Colorado Springs said he came with his mom, who works with Warriors in Recovery, because he heard about an opportunity to help a veteran and thought it was a better way to spend a Saturday than sitting on the couch.

“Some of the volunteers are his neighbors, and some are complete strangers,” Hernandez said.

She said the group was united by its desire to assist veterans and their families.

Spry said it was nice that many people came out to help, and he was thankful for all the assistance of the volunteers.

One more work session will take place in September at Spry’s home, but the date is yet to be set.

To donate materials to Spry for the work in his yard or for more information on volunteer sessions for Spry and in Colorado Springs, call Hernandez at 936-524-1464.

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