By Jeff Gallatin
Several service organizations are seeking additional help for an Army veteran and police officer who needs a permanent place to call home for his family.
Members of North Olmsted VFW Post 7647, their Strongsville counterparts, American Legion Post 738 and H.O.N.O.R.S. (Honoring Our Nation’s Outstanding Returning Soldiers) are working together to provide assistance for Everett “Alex” Haworth, an Olmsted Falls native, Cleveland Heights police officer and member of Post 7647.
After starting work as a police officer just a short time before, Haworth’s Ohio National Guard unit was called up in September 2011 and deployed to Afghanistan. Then, after six months on duty, Haworth, a sergeant in the Guard, was severely injured by a suicide bomber in an explosion that killed three other soldiers and gave Haworth a broken arm and leg, a traumatic brain injury and shrapnel wounds riddling one side of his body.
He was sent to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where his wife, Mallorie, and their 6-month-old baby girl Emma, went to be with Haworth while he was undergoing rehabilitation. After nearly six months, they came home to Northeast Ohio. Once here, they’ll tell you they wanted to raise Emma and get back to a normal life.
With the help of a Veterans Administration loan, they took what they thought would be the first step in establishing a home – buying a house in Olmsted Township.
“We were glad to be back home near people we know and getting to be a family together,” Haworth said.
However, when they went into the house last Nov. 8 they saw something on the floor near where Emma was – thick black mold. Haworth said they started looking into the problem.
“The house passed an inspection,” he said. “But when we started looking around we found it underneath drywall, in insulation and everything down to the studs when we pulled off the drywall.”
Haworth said they wanted to try to make the place home – so they went to live in the basement of Mallorie’s mother’s home temporarily while they attempted to get the problem solved by fixing the house themselves or through legal means.
“It was terrible, I worked on the house with friends and we tried fixing it, but there was no way we could live in it like it was, particularly with a young daughter,” he said.
The case remains tied up legally, but while that’s being resolved, the family still has a problem – where to get a permanent home, and how to pay for it.
“I’m paying for an apartment and for a home mortgage,” Haworth said. “We just can’t afford all of that.”
That’s when the North Olmsted VFW and other organizations began taking strong steps to help.
“Here you have a veteran who did honorable service for his country, and look what’s happening to him and his family; it’s just not right,” said Jeff Richie, commander of the North Olmsted VFW post.
Richie said the North Olmsted VFW, its Strongsville counterparts and American Legion Post 738 are all providing local support, while H.O.N.O.R.S. is providing literal help in providing a home. The organization provides specialized housing for veterans and agreed to do so for Haworth and his family. In addition, the northern Ohio area business Don Moulds’ Plantation also agreed to demolish the old home so a new one could be built in its place.
“They’re a great organization,” Richie said of H.O.N.O.RS. “They made Everett one of their heroes and are going to be helping build them a new home to go up on their property, and Don Mould’s really stepped up to demolish the house.”
Richie said the local veterans service organizations are sponsoring a Vegas night starting at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 in the St. Clarence Pavilion at 30106 Lorain Road to help raise funds for Haworth and his family. There also will be a Texas hold ’em tournament starting at 6:30 p.m. For further information on the event or for tickets, call the VFW at 440-734-5546.
Now, with the old house having been demolished in the last few days, Haworth and his family are ready to move ahead.
“We appreciate the assistance we’ve gotten, we just want a chance to make our own home here,” he said.