Lee BIA Builders Care, Gulfpoint Construction and partners build accessible bathroom for Fort Myers WWII veteran and family

Lee BIA Builders Care has helped provide an elderly Fort Myers couple and their son with an accessible bathroom that enhances the family’s health and safety.

Ralph Hauser, 93, served aboard the USS Flaherty during World War II and was part of the crew that captured the German submarine U-505, which was the only German sub captured at sea by American troops during the war. When Hauser returned to Southwest Florida, he worked as a mechanic and was the longtime owner of a repair shop in downtown Fort Myers. Ralph is also a lifelong Boy Scout and has received many awards of merit for his contributions to a variety of philanthropic organizations.

Ralph, and his wife, Jackie, 88, live in the 1,227-square-foot home with their 60-year-old son, Frank, who is disabled. The family’s two-bedroom, one-bathroom home was built in 1956 and has experienced significant structural and safety issues that were magnified by Hurricane Irma.

A 2018 news story brought attention to the family’s plight, and the community helped provide the Hauser home with a new roof and air conditioning system. Builders Care also was aware of the situation, and soon realized the family had another critical need – its one and only bathroom was not accessible, making it difficult for the Hausers to use. Ralph has been using a walker, and the bathroom’s layout was not conducive to individuals using assistive devices.

Gulfpoint Construction Company, Inc. and other business partners gutted the existing bathroom and installed an accessible walk-in shower, comfort height toilet, wall mount sink and other features to accommodate the Hauser family’s safety and accessibility.

In addition to the bathroom renovation, project partners also replaced the exterior side garage door and added a new coating of paint to the home’s exterior.

The Hauser family relies on Social Security and a disability check to cover basic expenses, but that leaves little money for major household repairs like a bathroom renovation.

“The Hausers have lived in the same home for more than 60 years, but they aren’t in a position financially to pay for a renovation project,” said Becky Swift, executive director of Lee BIA Builders Care. “As a community, we have a responsibility to help our neighbors during their times of need, and I’m so thankful Gulfpoint Construction teamed with Lee BIA Builders Care to help the Hausers.”

Additional project partners included Wildcat Renovation, Franzese Plumbing, Commercial Concrete, American Drywall, ReSource Flooring, Service Contracting Solutions and Gatewood Custom Carpentry.

Over the past 12 years, Lee BIA Builders Care has helped more than 400 individuals and families by providing wheelchair ramps, roof replacements, remodeling projects and other critical repairs that allow deserving families to live safely and comfortably in their own homes.

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