We want to give a nod to the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, whose members were the recent recipients of a grant to renovate their entire West Philly home this October, from the Home Depot Foundation.

Nice building

Closer look

Since 1994, the Comfort House has served as a temporary residence for veterans across Pennsylvania who travel to Philadelphia to receive chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the VA Hospital as well as for homeless veterans trying to re-assimilate themselves into society. It was inspired, in part, by the Ronald McDonald House.

On October 19, more than 100 PVCH and Home Depot (the one down on Oregon Ave.) volunteers congregated at 4108 Baltimore Ave. to make improvements at the home. They put in a new kitchen, painted, hung ceiling fans in the rooms, and made other improvements to the house.

“A lotta these guys need to get their self-respect and discipline back,” said Executive Director David Kamioner, who joined the organization in February 2010. He said a lot of the vets suffered from addictions, mental issues and post traumatic stress disorders. Sometimes, they just need a meal. On staff are mental health specialists as well as a chaplain.

At their 11-room structure, workers at the Comfort House provide homeless vets shelter for three to six months while the vets try to find work, save money and find a place to live. Unfortunately though, some men are not a good match for the Comfort House, and they continue to struggle with addiction and other ailments.

When the levees broke during Katrina, Kamioner was among the first wave of Red Cross volunteers on the ground in New Orleans. Since then, he’s been working in and running homeless shelters. That’s the kinda folks we like ’round here.

The new garden. From the Comfort House Facebook page

Coming up is their garden dedication ceremony to honor the memory of Corporal Michael Crescenz, the only Philadelphian to receive a Medal of Honor during Vietnam. It will take place this upcoming Saturday, November 12, at 2pm at the Comfort House.

–Lou Mancinelli