Students from West-MEC’s General Construction Technology program in Deer Valley are helping to renovate a veteran’s widow’s home in Glendale as part of their work-based learning and community service.

LaGean Levar is the wife of Thomas Phillip Levar, a Navy veteran who passed away nearly a year ago. Levar’s house was in disrepair and needed immediate attention. The city of Glendale contacted Glendale police officer Sgt. Jeff Turney due to his previous service to veterans to brainstorm ways to help. “The house was going to be condemned due to its condition and I contacted Angels on Patrol and Operation Enduring Gratitude. They stepped in to help Ms. Levar and renovate the house,” Sgt. Turney says.

Operation Enduring Gratitude, a nonprofit started by West-MEC’s General Construction Technology instructor and veteran Charlie Ellis, serves veterans and families in need. The nonprofit undertook renovations to make Levar’s house a home again. To help, students from West-MEC’s construction class went to the site and put the skills they learned in their program to good use. They filled in cracks, replaced windows, performed repairs on cracked masonry joints, and more. Avanti Windows and AZ Masonry Council guided students in the process.

Ximena Navarro, a student of the program, says, “It feels great to use the skills that I’ve learned in class while also giving back to the community.”

“The class is here to make a tangible difference while seeing real-life application of techniques learned in the lab,” Ellis says. “They will be coming back a few more times to help in the restoration process.”

“I’d like to thank the students, Operation Enduring Gratitude, and others who have helped in the restoration process,” Levar says.

The full restoration is anticipated to be completed this spring.