Local Company Helps Disabled Veteran

by | Apr 2024

WHEN MUTUAL friends set Debi up with Fred Arend on a blind date almost two decades ago, it was love at first sight. The two were always inseparable, so what Fred did, Debi often did, too. But they never imagined this would mean tragedy could strike them both. In fact, according to a nurse at the hospital where they were both admitted, she’d never seen or heard of something similar ever taking place.

As a retired Navy chief with a ranking of E7, Fred hailed from Washington state. At the time they met, Debi lived in Georgia, so after they tied the knot, they moved several times before finally settling in the mountains of Oregon. Their last move would bring them to Hendersonville, where they purchased a home, allowing Debi to live closer to her son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. For a moment, her “mama heart” was full.

“I was really missing my family, my son, David, and my daughter, Staci. I have four grandkids and six great-grandkids, and I miss them terribly. My son convinced me to move near him. He said, ‘Mama, I won’t move away. My kids are growing up and will graduate soon.’ Well, I was missing all of it. But shortly after Fred and I settled in Hendersonville, it wasn’t but a few months, and my son had to move to South Alabama because of his job.”

Before they married in 2004, Fred had been working at Mount Rainier National Park, but shortly after their marriage, a trip to the doctor showed that by the Navy’s standards, he was 30% disabled. By 2007, he was considered 100% disabled due to injuries he suffered while in the service. Tragedy struck in July 2023 when Fred suffered a heart attack, followed by a quadruple bypass in August. After serving as Fred’s caregiver since they were married, Debi’s heart literally broke. She suffered a heart attack in October, requiring four stents. One week before her attack, her daughter, Staci, along with her husband, Chris, had moved to be near her.

“They actually moved here from Texas to help me figure out what to do with my husband after his heart attack. They got here one week before mine hit. So, it couldn’t have been any better. The Lord knew what He was doing. He already had it all under control.”

While Fred and Debi were both hospitalized, a compassionate neighbor noted that the couple’s “honey-do list” was falling behind because of Fred’s long-term health situation. They reached out to Mr. Handyman, who completed repairs estimated at $50,000. 

“We were made aware of Mr. Arend’s situation by a personal friend and employee of the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce,” said John Gentry from Mr. Handyman/Mr. Rooter. “This was a special project. We try to do one every year. The owners of Mr. Handyman and Servair, and their immediate field staff, were responsible for the physical work and donated products. At the Arend’s job, we concentrated on the most crucial issues: the rotted bathroom floor, leaning backyard fence, fallen gutters, and general yard clean-up. Our company was honored to be able, in some way, to help one of our disabled service members. 

“We are a Hendersonville locally owned business serving Sumner, Robertson, Wilson, Cheatham, and portions of Davidson counties,” said Gentry. “We are a contractor specializing in small to large repairs to homes and businesses. Because our techs are multi-talented in their skills, our team can do a job where it would take several outside contractors, thus saving our customers fees in most cases. We also owe a special thanks to Good Honest Mechanic. We couldn’t have done this without them.” 

It still amazes Debi when she thinks back to when the trucks and a maid service showed up to revitalize the Arend home. 

“I was really amazed at the size of the crew they brought. All the guys were just awesome and so considerate. They even picked out my new bathroom flooring. It was all just so incredible. They were very knowledgeable, and I knew my home was in excellent hands.” 

Sadly, Fred hasn’t been well enough to return home. For two decades, he served in our naval forces, which led to his disability, and now we have a chance to repay a small portion of our debt to him just as Mr. Handyman and their subsidiaries, Servair and Mr. Rooter, did. GN 

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