Like many applicants to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s Critical Home Repair program, he has had more than his share of obstacles to overcome. He was born with a skeletal deformity causing chronic pain and limited mobility. In 1995, he was a successful stone sculptor living a few blocks away from the Alfred P. Murrah Building when Timothy McVeigh used a fertilizer bomb in a rental truck to forever alter the Oklahoma City landscape and the lives of many, including Mariano’s. The 40-mph pressure blast from the explosion knocked him out of bed, damaging his knees and hearing, and exacerbating his pre-existing joint and bone problems.
After the bombing, Mariano’s struggles continued. He had multiple surgeries in the years that followed and has been unable to continue with his sculpting career. Over the years, he had to move and the home he currently owns fell into disrepair. Though difficult for him, he finally accepted that he needed help; Mariano applied for the COHFH Critical Home Repair Program and was approved to have work done on his home.
In July, the CHR team and volunteers began work on Mariano’s home. His air conditioning unit has been repaired, making his home much more comfortable during the scorching summer months. In order to help weatherize his home, his windows and back door have been replaced and a new coat of exterior paint has been applied. Inside, his bathroom has been remodeled and repaired and the entire 100-year old home has been rewired to meet code standards and protect against electrical fire.
The improvements made to Mariano’s home should allow for better mobility and a higher level of safety and comfort for him as he continues his recovery from his most recent surgery. Mariano’s physical struggles will continue, but the improvements made to his home by a caring community will help ease the burden.