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Vienna Volunteers Bring Christmas in April

Volunteers make repairs on elderly woman's house.

Despite the morning's steady downpour, volunteers from Vienna's Navy Federal Credit Union descended upon the house of 80-year-old Agnes Maceda last Saturday, to renovate it as part of the Rebuilding Together program.

Their charge for the day was to paint the entire interior of her house, replace three toilets, and build her a new deck.

"I just thought it was a good opportunity," said employee Monica Brotten, who was busy painting a wall in Maceda's living room.

This is the fifth year that Navy Federal participated in the annual event organized by Rebuilding Together, also known as Christmas in April. The event is part of a national network of volunteers working to rehabilitate houses of low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities.

About 50 volunteers from Vienna's Navy Federal various departments and branches participated in the day's activities. While some painted, others dismantled a doghouse, installed grab bars or replaced doors. They will also plant some flowers and use mulch donated from the Merrifield Garden Center.

"The idea is to make the house safe and livable and warm," said Loren Moeller, public relations manager and coordinator of the annual all-day volunteer event.

Although the event was a one-day affair, volunteers had come earlier in the week to clean the house and strip the walls of wallpaper. If the work isn't completed, they will come back to finish building the deck.

"We have a lot of employees who want to do some group volunteer effort," Moeller said.

For volunteers, the satisfaction of making Maceda happy was what mattered for the day.

"I'm here to help out Agnes. Agnes is in need of help," said Jeremiah Edwards, who came with Brotten.

Maceda, meanwhile, knows that their repairs to her 1966 home go a long way.

"I'm enjoying it. I think it's wonderful. It's a lifesaver," Maceda said.