Veterans help a local veteran in time of need

Members of Midlothian American Legion post give Maypearl man’s home a makeover

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
American Legion members salute veteran Cecil Junkersfeld as he gets ready to return to his rural Maypearl home. Legion members from Midlothian and Cleburne and members of Maypearl Church of Christ recently remodeled the interior of Junkersfeld's home.

Veterans helping veterans is part of what the American Legion does, and recently they were hard at work assisting a disabled Vietnam War veteran.

This summer, members of the Chris Kyle American Legion Post 388 in Midlothian, along with members of a post in Cleburne and a Maypearl church, helped redo the interior of Air Force veteran Cecil Junkersfeld’s rural Ellis County home while he was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery and a leg infection.

What the kitchen of Cecil Junkersfeld's home looked like before being remodeled.

Junkersfeld, who is 72, returned to a home that was almost completely made over.

“Our Riders group escorted him home on Saturday (Sept. 11),” said David Day, first vice commander of Chris Kyle Post 388. “We met him at the nursing home and as he walked out, we saluted. He came in and it seemed like he was really overwhelmed with how the house had changed.”

While Junkersfeld was hospitalized, someone contacted the Maypearl Church of Christ and the Legion’s Post 50 in Cleburne, and that got the ball rolling.

Newly-elected U.S. Congressman Jake Ellzey comes out to help remodel the home of disabled veteran Cecil Junkersfeld this summer.

Over the next four to six weeks, volunteers from the two Legion posts and the church emptied out his home and got to work remodeling the interior. Between 20 and 30 volunteers showed up the first weekend, with up to 10 volunteers working over the next several weekends.

Some of the work included new flooring, a new electric water heater, kitchen cabinets, a counter, a sink, painted walls, new ceiling fans, and new lights. Also installed were a new side-by-side refrigerator, two window air conditioner units, and a washer and dryer. The volunteers put in a new kitchen table and chairs, and also remodeled the bathroom and put in a new bathtub.

Veteran Cecil Junkersfeld enters his newly-remodeled home and is welcomed by members of the Chris Kyle American Legion Post 388 of Midlothian.

“We pulled out the kitchen cabinet and sink, and found a bunch of mold where pipes had been leaking behind the wall,” Day said. “The church had a contractor come in and put in new plywood and redid the plumbing.”

Helping out was Lowe’s in Waxahachie, which sold about $2,000 in building materials to the group at cost, which Day said was a substantial savings. The landlord of the house reimbursed the group for expenses. Also donating to the cause was Dirt Cheap in Ennis, with two pallets of unboxed laminate flooring which volunteers used to refloor the entire house. Furniture and cash donations from around Midlothian were also received.

“All total we probably put about $15,000 worth of new furniture and material into the place,” Day said. “Between the church, Post 50 and the post here in Midlothian, we probably put in a good $15,000 in labor as well.”

How the kitchen in Cecil Junkersfeld's home looks following the makeover,

Even coming out one day to help was newly-elected U.S. Congressman and retired Navy officer Jake Ellzey, who is a member of the Midlothian Legion post.

While cleaning out Junkersfield’s home, someone located his DD 214, or discharge form, and Legion members had it framed and mounted, Day said.

“I think he was pretty overwhelmed when he realized how many people had helped out and donated stuff,” Day said, ”and just realizing that there are people out there that care and are willing to put that kind of effort out there for you.”