Military veteran gets free home repairs

Home improvement initiative Neighborly Project helps deserving Jacksonville vets

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several home improvement companies have come together to make life easier for deserving military families. 

One of the projects was underway Thursday at a military veteran's home in Jacksonville's Sans Souci neighborhood.

Painting of the exterior, fence repairs, window replacement and bathroom plumbing fixture replacement were among the renovations taking place at the home owned by Robert Hearman and his family.

"I'm still speechless," Hearman told News4Jax. "(It's) just very overwhelming and a lot of weight off my shoulders trying to get everything fixed myself."

Hearman was enlisted in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and served two tours in Iraq. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a struggle he and his family have to overcome on a daily basis.

"It's a lot," Hearman said. "I mean, you've got depression, being around a lot of people -- you get nervous."

Hearman's wife, Amber, said it's been difficult.

"He has his moments," she said. "There are certain times of year when things have happened in the military when he was serving overseas that will trigger it."

Hearman still manages to support his wife and 9-year-old daughter. He works long hours, six days a week as a machine operator for a paper and packaging manufacturer.

His wife decided to enter him in the Neighborly Project contest, and the family won. The Hearmans are now receiving about $20,000 in much-needed renovation services from several local businesses. 

"I love it," Hearman said. "It's something I wouldn't mind doing myself -- help out the community, make it a better place."

The Hearman family

The Neighborly Project is a new home improvement initiative in which home service experts collaborate to offer services to veterans and their families -- free of charge.

Hearman's home will be the first of many projects to come.

Neighborly is a community of home service experts that unites 13 Dwyer Group brands under one home services platform. The participating Jacksonville Neighborly brands include Glass Doctor, Molly Maid, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Handyman, Mr. Rooter Plumbing, Rainbow International and Window Genie.