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FPD personnel donate time and material so a low-income disabled vet has a place to call home

Fullerton Police Department employees, about 20 strong, recently spent their day off doing anything but relaxing.

The group, which included officers, reservists, cadets, a Retired Senior Volunteer (RSVP) and a jailer, turned screwdrivers and swung pick-axes. They hung drywall and put down flooring. They measured and vacuumed.

The volunteer effort, which took place Friday, Dec. 2, went toward a Habitat for Humanity project to build an energy-efficient home for a low-income military veteran.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit that builds homes that then are typically purchased and lived in by low-income families.

The mortgage is discounted based on the buyer’s income, said Frank Palstring, site supervisor.

The 2,400-square-foot home the FPD employees worked on is located at the southwest corner of Highland and Truslow avenues.

Construction began in April and should be finished by January, Palstring said, with the new owner moving in about a year later.

FPD Reserve Officer Randall Richards, vice president of operations and sales for Reliable Wholesale Lumber, helped organize the department’s volunteers and arranged to have $20,000 worth of lumber donated to the project.

“This opportunity came up and we were happy to help out,” Richards said. “Having worked in Fullerton for 19 years, it makes me happy to be involved in this portion of the project.

FPD volunteers accounted for a combined 176 hours of work, Richards said.

Among the volunteers was Cpt. John Siko, who said he enjoys building projects at home, so why not give time for a good cause.

“For me, I wanted to do it,” Siko said. “I wanted to help him (Randy) out because he helps our department so much.”

Volunteering also helps foster the department’s ongoing mission to connect with the community, the captain said.

The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home has an attached unit with a separate entrance that is designed to be occupied by a relative or caretaker.

The home will be a solar-powered “net-zero” structure, meaning it produces only as much energy as it consumes.

“We try to be state-of-the-art on everything that is in here,” Palstring said.

Habitat for Humanity has partnered with Fullerton on at least 20 other home-building projects in town.

“We’ve got a good working relationship with Fullerton,” Palstring said.

When asked about the contributions from FPD, Palstring said:

“They are energetic. They just want to help.”