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Disabled veteran’s only bathroom in disrepair, Builders Care raising money for renovations

A Vietnam veteran and his wife who live on Jacksonville’s northside could use your help. Their only bathroom is in disrepair. They’ve been bathing out of their sink.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Vietnam veteran and his wife who live on Jacksonville’s northside could really use your help. Their only bathroom is in disrepair and they have had to bathe out of their sink.

“This is our shower that’s just falling down,” Brenda Tuten said.

For two years she and her husband Frank Tuten, a disabled veteran, haven’t been able to use the only shower in their house.

“It’s been hard because I’ve been having to wash with a pan at the bathroom sink,” Frank Tuten said. “It’s been a very big struggle washing up.”

“It’s hard for him to get over the tub because he had a stroke on his right side,” Brenda Tuten explained. “If I wash my hair I have to go in the kitchen sink and try to stick my head under the kitchen faucet, and if I lean my head too far I get really dizzy like I’m going to pass out.”

When the nonprofit Builders Care found out about the condition of their bathroom, Executive Director Justin Brown said they felt compelled to help.

“The Fraternal Order of Police ended up contacting us to help with their roof. The police were putting on a new roof, and we built a wheelchair ramp,” Brown said. “I hadn’t even gone in the house. Last month people said you need to go see their bathroom, so I went in and it’s their only bathroom and I said ‘Oh my gosh! We have to rectify this immediately.’ It is so heartbreaking and devastating.”

A large hole above the shower exposes the attic. 

“The ceiling pretty well fell down in the tub and right now the shower is not working. It’s not really safe because you don’t know what’s falling out of that ceiling,” Brenda Tuten explained. “We put this pan into the sink and then use a liquid soap and pour soap in there and stir it and take a wash rag and we wipe with it.”

Builders Care is now trying to raise $10,000 to remodel the Tuten’s bathroom and pay for them to stay in a hotel during the renovations, which the nonprofit plans to start next week.

“I basically said if we get $3,000 we are starting it. It’s probably about a $10,000 job, but we are going to be able to get volunteers to come help us out,” Brown said. “We started an online fundraiser on Facebook and immediately we had $800 within a few hours.”

The Tutens are grateful for the support.

“We really appreciate what they do for us, and it would be a miracle to have a walk-in shower,” Brenda Tuten said.

“It’s the nicest thing we’ve ever had done,” Frank Tuten said.

If you would like to donate to help renovate the Tuten’s bathroom visit Builders Care Facebook page. The nonprofit is always looking for volunteers.

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