Atlanta business leaders help with rebuilding communities

There are many noble, small, community groups that have been trying to help rebuild neighborhoods for decades, but wi...

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 9:36 AM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 9:36 AM

There are many noble, small, community groups that have been trying to help rebuild neighborhoods for decades, but without resources from Atlanta's wealthiest that would be impossible.

Even at 85 there's still a bit of mischief in Jack Lucas' eyes from the days he spent on a mine sweeper during the Korean War.

"We were considered the bad guys in the Navy, the misfits that sort of thing the expendables you understand," says Lucas.

He says he could always tell when they were going on a suicide mission by the breakfast they got.

"The cooks would ask us how we wanted our eggs how you wanted your steak like a last meal thing, usually they just fix the stuff and throw it at you."

Those war stories kept the Army of volunteers at his home in Mechanicsville entertained while they fixed it up along with three other houses on the block, all thanks to the non-profit "House Proud."

"We do this about 50 times a year we are a staff of about two and half with a very small budge and we work on about 100 houses a year because we have the multiplier of groups like this."

Groups like this include the unmistakeable orange shirt of the Home Depot Foundation whose corporate DNA was built on giving back to the community. A partnership that is now spreading as more Atlanta business leaders join in.

"I see no better place to look for it than the people that create the wealth in this state the people who actually are meaningful in creating jobs and pushing youth and economics along for them to get involved in these issues," says Bernie Marcus.

House Proud and other small advocacy groups understand the scope of the work and the scale of the response.

"I like to paint but I cannot paint 50 houses in a year. I know how to build some stuff but our little staff can't replace all those handrails by ourselves we can't, so philanthropy is the only way it works."

When his ship was sunk in the war, and he was adrift in the ocean in the dark of night, Lucas wasn't sure he'd make it. But teamwork got him here today and that's why he appreciates the volunteers helping all the seniors on the block.

"They're just making all of us look good and I like that."

Jack Lucas is a story all by himself and CBS46 may revisit him later.

The same applies to Bernie Marcus who was out of state when CBS46 talked to him about the story.

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