By Jeff Gallatin
A decorated Gulf War veteran is getting ready to put the final nails in one part of his life and move on to the next phase.
A fundraiser is set for 6 p.m. to midnight June 27 at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township to help the family of Everett “Alex” Haworth finish the home they and a dedicated group of supporters have been building. A 2006 Olmsted Falls High School graduate, Haworth was severely wounded in a suicide bombing while serving in the Army in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart as a result.
After returning in November 2012, Haworth and his wife, Mallorie (a 2007 OFHS graduate), found that the home they had recently purchased had a heavy infestation of toxic black mold, which meant the couple and their young daughter Emma couldn’t live in it. A lawsuit involving the home has been settled with a non-disclosure agreement (meaning as part of the agreement, none of the parties involved can discuss the settlement publicly) and a group of organizations – including the North Olmsted VFW Post 7647, H.O.N.O.R.S. (Housing Our Nation’s Outstanding Returning Soldiers), NEOPAT (Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism) and a group of assorted businesses and volunteers razed the old house and are close to finishing a new house on the site. The June 27 fundraiser is to help finish paying for the various costs of the new home, as well the North Olmsted apartment they are living in temporarily and medical expenses since Mallorie is pregnant with the couple’s second child.
Haworth, a Cleveland Heights police officer, said the assistance from the different groups and people has made the family’s life easier in difficult times.
“We appreciate all the assistance people have given me and my family through all of this,” he said. “The support for me and them while I was in the Army as well as everything else that’s taken place means so much to us. It means a lot that we’re going to be able to move into our own home soon as a result of all this help.”
Haworth’s home, which they hope to move into by Labor Day, is the first one that H.O.N.O.R.S. has done in a program in which the organization intends to provide housing assistance for veterans. Haworth said his involvement with it and other organizations will go beyond the completion of the home for his family.
“When they settle on the second home that the organization does for someone else, I’ll be getting a plane ticket and heading out to wherever it is to help build that home,” he said. “We want to give some of the same type of help to someone else that we’ve gotten. I intend to settle in, be an active member of the North Olmsted VFW and help out where I can in the community.”
Jeff Richie, commander of the North Olmsted VFW post and one of the leaders of the effort to help the Haworth family, said he’s not surprised by Haworth’s readiness to give back.
“That’s the kind of people he and his family are,” he said. “They want to make sure they give something back as well. It’s been great seeing all the businesses and people give them some needed help. That’s why we’re asking people to just help us finish the job and get them in their home.”
Richie said anybody interested in helping the Haworth’s and/or attending the June 27 event can call the VFW at 440-734-5546.
Charles Vitchers, co-founder of H.O.N.O.R.S., said it’s been a pleasure helping build the Haworths’ new home.
“It’s the kind of project that we want to be involved in with the group,” he said. “They’re just the kind of people who deserve that kind of help. We want to help veterans who’ve given just by their service and need some help back in return.”