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Texans help to refurbish home


Four-and-a-half miles from Reliant Stadium, Olivia Simon walked out of her home one morning to a strange commotion. It startled her at first, but when she went outside and saw what fuss was about, it warmed her heart.

Approximately 45 volunteers from the Texans, Reliant Energy and NRG were on Simon's lawn. With building materials in tow, they were there to repair the exterior of her 1950s-era home, where she lives with two of her children in the Sunnyside community.

Texans players Chris Myers, Nick Ferguson, Vonta Leach, Dominique Barber and Chester Pitts were among the 100 or so volunteers who made their way to Simon's home during the Texans' Day of Caring.

"For an 85-year-old woman to come out of her house and be totally surprised by the whole Texans organization coming over here and helping out paint the house, it's heartwarming," Myers said. "To have her out here with her whole family and to see how ecstatic and happy they are that we're just helping out in any way, any shape or form, it hits close to home."

Simon was selected for the project by Rebuilding Together Houston, a nonprofit organization that provides home repair services for low income, elderly and/or disabled Houston-area residents. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Texans partnered with Reliant for the venture.

"We talk about the impact we make on communities," said Gene Fisseler, Reliant Energy director of public affairs. "But I tell you what: Everybody that goes home today from this site, they go home impacted as well."

Using RTH materials, the Texans and Reliant volunteers re-painted the exterior of Simon's house, laid a new stone sidewalk around it, built rails around her front and back porches, replaced the siding on a shed in her backyard and installed a couple of new doors.

{QUOTE}Some of the players looked a bit lost in their roles, such as Barber, who helped to dig out the ground around Simon's house before installing the sidewalk.

"My mom used to put me in the garden a lot, but I've never done a sidewalk like this," said Barber, covered in sweat. "So this is a first."

Ferguson, on a ladder with a paint brush in hand, was right at home.

"When I was young, we changed the color of our home several times, so painting was somewhat of a hobby around our house," he said. "To me, I enjoy painting. They gave me the easiest job I can get."

Ferguson saw the job through to the end, continuing to paint until the entire job was finished. He was one of the last volunteers to leave Simon's property.

"With our whole economic recession, people are really feeling down, and this is one way to kind of show that the team supporting them in their trials and tribulations," he said. "It's a great thing that the team is doing to let people know that you're not alone and there are people out there that care for you."

The players took a quick break from their work to meet a grateful Simon and her family outside of her house. Simon became emotional when describing the impact of the support provided to her that day.

"It means for me to have a longer life," she said. "Good Lord – to have people to think of me, little old me? Y'all don't know how happy I am. Everyone I see, I say, 'Lord bless 'em. Lord bless 'em. You thought about little old me.' So I must be worth a whole lot. I'm blessed."

The smile on her face left a lasting impression on the players.

"She's a really sweet lady; she smiled all big and grabbed me and hugged on me," Pitts said. "This is just the right thing to do. Nobody's too busy, nobody's too big, to do things like this. Giving back is really what it's all about."

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