Businesses volunteering time, materials to make Bauman home handicapped-accessible

Last modified: 8/5/2013 11:27:52 PM
Jeff Bauman has been a regular visitor to Concord for more than a decade, seeing his father, stepmother and two half-brothers at their Thomas Street home whenever he could. Winter visits included hockey games at the Everett Arena or skating in the backyard; summer, sitting on the deck, playing guitar and enjoying time together.

But since losing both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings in April, Bauman has made only one trip home. He had to be carried into the house and had a hard time maneuvering his wheelchair through the rooms.

Luckily, the next time he visits won’t be quite as complicated. Yesterday marked the start of a monthlong project to renovate the home of his dad and stepmom, Jeff and Csilla, by creating a new kitchen and a handicapped-accessible bedroom and bathroom for Bauman. The house will also have a wheelchair ramp extending toward Prescott Street.

Cobb Hill Construction and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church are leading more than 30 New Hampshire and Massachusetts organizations that are donating time and money to the project. By early September, the home will be ready.

“It’s a very good reaction when we talk to anybody about it, so it’s been really easy to get people on board,” said Carey Borden, project manager for Cobb Hill.

In mid-May, one of the Baumans’ neighbors connected Csilla with Ed Mullen Sr., the associate pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary, where she is a parishioner. Mullen, who had his right leg amputated when he was 22 years old after serving in the Vietnam War, wanted to help the family understand Jeff’s new needs.

About that same time, the father of one of Bauman’s friends had drawn up a rough plan for how the Baumans could make their house more accessible. Mullen went to the house one day to look at the plan and thought it needed to be more expansive. Within an hour, Cobb Hill called the family and offered its services for a more extensive expansion. Bauman’s half-bother, Alan, was connected to Michael Browning at Cobb Hill through a friend.

“It just all fit together like God’s hand was on the whole thing to make it happen,” Mullen said.

Since then, the number of volunteering businesses continues to grow. In preparation for the project to begin, Csilla and Bauman’s father, Jeff, have been spending most of their time cleaning and clearing out the kitchen and the back porch. When everything is completed, what is now the back porch will be an expanded kitchen, a shed on the side of the house will be replaced with a wheelchair-accessible bedroom and bathroom and a wide wheelchair ramp will extend out from the side of the house. In addition to making Bauman’s trips to Concord easier, the new design will also give Bauman his own space.

Workers will be at the house almost every day between now and the end of the project. Csilla said she and the family are grateful for all of the support the businesses and community members have shown.

“They choose to be here, how nice is that?” she said as she sat outside yesterday with Mullen and Borden, wearing a light blue “Bauman Strong” bracelet on her wrist.

Bauman has been living with his mother in Chelmsford, Mass., since he was released from Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in May. His days are filled with physical therapy and learning how to use his prosthetic legs, which often leaves him tired in the evenings, Csilla said. Walking on the prosthetic legs can cause a lot of pain, but it gets better as Bauman continues his workouts.

“It’s quite the job he has right now,” Csilla said.

Mullen has used his own experience as an amputee to help the family understand what Bauman is going through. His story gives Csilla hope that Bauman will lead a bright future, despite his injury.

“It’s not going to keep Jeffrey down,” she said.

The project still needs donations in the following areas: Concrete for the foundation, lumber, insulation (materials and labor), siding and roofing materials, decking and deck/ramp framing materials, interior trim materials and interior doors, counter tops, interior paint, hardwood flooring and kitchen tile installation. For information or to donate, contact Carey Borden at

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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