By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Wounded Warrior Tim Senkowski and family members were joined by a very colorful character Wednesday. They were gathered at the Ricker’s store at Ninth and Scatterfield to kick off a new Ricker’s campaign to raise funds to get Tim and his family into a new home. Jay Ricker was on hand as Pops the Clown to get the ball rolling.
Senkowski, 30, has returned to Anderson after a 1-1/2-year rehabilitation stay at Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Md. He suffered severe injuries, including the loss of both of his legs, after an IED explosion during his service in Afghanistan in October 2011. He’s happy to be home.
“I love it here. Madison County is a great place,” said Senkowski.
The Wounded Warrior and his wife, Erica, who also has disabilities stemming from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, along with their two young children, Dusty and Embry, are currently living with Senkowski’s mother, Tamra Rigdon, and stepfather, J.R.
The Path Home, a veterans organization based in Avon, is organizing to build the Senkowskis a new home that accommodates their disabilities. With help from Ricker’s and other businesses, organizations and individuals, the land for the home has now been purchased. On Saturday, the ground breaking on the new home west of Edgewood will commence with a ceremony at 2 p.m.
“I’m happy, and I can’t wait for it,” said Senkowski’s wife, Erica. “Saturday is the first step.”
Bob Luenebrink of The Path Home said funds are still very much needed. The Path Home raised and paid $55,000 for the 6-acre lot located near Indiana 32 and County Road 500 West. That price tag came after a $10,000 discount for the disabled vet.
Ricker’s Oil Co. last year raised more than $10,000 of those funds through a campaign at its stores, and donated a total of $30,000.
“We’re hoping to raise another $10,000,” said Ricker. Patrons can spend a dollar to get a card with their name on it hung up on the wall. They’ll be available at 11 Ricker’s stores in Anderson and one in Lapel. “We think it’s very important to give back to the community.”
Luenebrink said that American Legions, VFWs, and numerous small business and individuals have contributed to the effort as well. The Indianapolis Colts donated $7,000.
Axis Architecture of Indianapolis designed the 2,900-square-foot house and attached garage, and produced the prints, valued at $5,000, with input from Senkowski and Erica.
“Indiana union contractors will donate all the material and labor they can get their hands on,” said Luenebrink. He said that Mike Brooks of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 440 coordinated all the union contractors in the state. $64,000 of the disabilities accommodations will come from a Veterans Administration grant for disabled vets.
With an average cost of $100 per square foot to build, value of the entire project, including the land, is in the neighborhood of $280,000. Completion is expected by the end of the year.
How to help
To make tax-free donations of money, time or supplies to build Tim Senkowski’s new home or to find out more about the project, contact Bob Luenebrink at (317) 775-4481 or visit www.thepathhome.net. T-shirts are also available through the American Legion. Cash donations for the Senkowskis can also be made to any PNC bank to the Timothy Frank Senkowski fund. The routing number for the deposit-only account is 071921891, and the account number is 4804575502. Contact JR Rigdon at (765) 617-0482 to find out what is needed and how to donate toward the Rigdons’ home.