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"Make It Happen" by Preservation SOS

Preservation SOS calls on Springfielders for its next Make It Happen Project.

Published July 6, 2011 in News      46 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


Preservation SOS (Save Our Springfield) arose from a small community meeting in summer 2010. With the mission of saving homes, beautifying blight, and helping people, SOS hit the ground running, making sure to maintain a reputation of getting things done; the whole “just do it” attitude.  A strictly volunteer group of interested Springfield residents, business owners, and friends, SOS talks less and does more.  Not everyone in Springfield is as passionate and patient about the houses as we are, and not everyone desires to help the less fortunate, but it is the crux of SOS.  

One of our major projects happens twice yearly and is called “Make it Happen.”  Miss Maggie was the first recipient of our Make it Happen preservation project.  Miss Maggie’s house was in dire need of attention and the City of Jacksonville's code enforcement held an active case file on her home, requiring her to repair the exterior deterioration of the home she has owned for over 30 years.  In her 80's, this was impossible for Miss Maggie. More than 65 neighbors and friends gathered on July 31st 2010 to “make it happen” at her humble bungalow on East 2nd Street.  Over the course of 10 hours, volunteers did minor repairs, painted, and landscaped her home and most importantly, cleared the case file with code enforcement; Miss Maggie’s house is no longer in jeopardy of being condemned and potentially demolished.  

Miss Maggie's house before.

Miss Maggie's house after.

A second project, for our friend Kenneth on East 9th Street, was a little less ambitious. Kenneth also had an active case file with code enforcement, requiring him to restore or demolish the violations in his home. Approximately 35 volunteers gathered Thanksgiving weekend 2010 to provide exterior repairs, trim painting, and landscape beautification.  And as with Miss Maggie, SOS was able to clear all code violations for Kenneth’s house and close the file with code enforcement.  

Kenneth's house before.

Kenneth's house after.

Oscar, who resides on the east 400 block of 3rd Street will be our July 23rd recipient of Preservation SOS's Make it Happen Project.  Oscar was a Springfield resident prior to our neighborhood being designated as historic.  He purchased his humble home on E. 3rd in the early 80s and has resided there for over three decades.  

Oscar’s home was nominated by his neighbors John and Monica for our project.  John and I went back and forth several times via email and in one he describes why Oscar is deserving of this neighborhood project:  “He is literally grateful for anything. He is such a sweet guy.  Even with all the bad that has happened to him, he is the most cheerful person you will meet.  He always looks on the bright side of life.  His house is in desperate need of work.  He does his best with limited funds and he takes such good care of Oscar Jr.  He is really a good Dad.”  

Oscar and Oscar Jr.

Well, we certainly agree.  Gloria, John, Monica, James (neighbor,) and I stopped by Oscar’s house after the heavy rain (and thankfully cooler weather,) and asked him if we could give him some neighborly love; paint and repair the exterior and landscape his yard. He didn’t hesitate and said he's wanted his home to be fixed for sometime so it looked nice like everyone else’s on the block.  

Oscar is a former truck driver, welder, boat captain, and construction worker.  He and his son are adored by the neighbors on their block and by those who know them.  

Back in the 80s when Oscar purchased, like all of the “old-timers” of the hood say, it was pretty scary.  He states that he was the only resident on his block, that one else lived there and all the houses were vacant.  “People vanished. Moved out.”  On the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets, the commercial buildings had bars which produced a lot of negative foot traffic, drugs, and prostitution. Oscar talks about the “tremendous upgrades” in the last 10 years in Springfield.  And also that people are now more friendly. He states there “ain’t too much about it (Springfield,) I don’t like.”

Oscar and Oscar Jr.

I am repeatedly humbled by the goodness within people. I am glad to meet and to know people who continually do good for others without the expectation of something in return. Oscar and Miss Maggie are deserving of these community projects.  I already feel good inside and it is not even July 23rd yet! A thanks goes to the folks on the 400 block of E. 3rd - who are supportive of one another no matter what they have or don’t have.

For more information please email preservationsos@yahoo.com  All donations are tax deductible as SOS is under the umbrella of our friends at Sustainable Springfield.

Article by Nicole Lopez.



July 06, 2011, 07:42:50 AM
Great article Nicole  :)  Oscar and his son are so deserving of this project, and this is where the goodness of others really surfaces.


July 06, 2011, 07:52:23 AM
Oscar's house is right behind the Kid's GArdne Sustainable Springfield will be building on E 4th - would he and his son like access to a plot at the garden, Nicole?



July 06, 2011, 10:21:18 AM
why don't we see more of these stories in the TU? 


July 06, 2011, 10:35:12 AM
great job, great article.


July 06, 2011, 12:14:30 PM
Looking forward to Making it Happen.


July 06, 2011, 04:09:18 PM
Neighbors helping neighbors will do more for community building than flashy projects attempted by the city.


July 06, 2011, 04:29:15 PM
WOW. I am very happy to see this. Especially in the urban core of our city.


July 06, 2011, 11:50:43 PM
This is so awesome. Great story; admirable mission. Sorry if I overlooked the info, if it is already here: but how can folks get in touch with SOS, to join in? Whether this project, or a future one? Thanks! :)


July 07, 2011, 07:58:50 AM


July 12, 2011, 10:15:30 PM
Make it Happen
Specific Needs

Please email or PM me if you are willing to provide any of the following items, preservationsos@yahoo.com  We have received donations totaling $600 to help offset the supplies below.  I estimate the project to cost $1200 for a complete paint job, new porch, and landscaping.  Every donation counts.  Please check your garages and yards, what can you spare?  All donations are tax deductible via our friends at Sustainable Springfield.

8 - one gallon pots of “pot ruellia”
2 - five gallon (or larger) of “crepe myrtle tree” red or pink in color
8 – one gallon “loropetalum ruby”
8 – one gallon “pot firebush”
4 – one gallon “boxwood”
8 – one gallon “orange bulbine”
12 – one gallon or quart pots of “loriapie”
12 – (16” x 16”) “square cobble everglade pavers”
Bricks, Bricks, Bricks
8 – pine needle bales
1 – stockade fence panel
1 – 4 x 4 x 10 post
1 – 2 x 4 x 8

Cinderblock (Nicole donating)
2 – 2 x 10 x 12 (need 6’ lengths) floor boards
90” crown molding (need to dress 2 front windows)
Pendant porch light
6 – panels of pre-made porch rails (or the pieces to make new porch rails
28’ of novelty siding (Josh Kennedy donating)
1 x 4 x 8 corner boards (need 4 total)
1 x 4 x 8 door frame (need 3 total)
New Screen door (maybe)
Black Spray Paint
Number Sign (Phil Collins donating)
2 wood window screens (Josh Kennedy donating)
10 gallons white exterior primer
10 gallons of paint (I have a specific color)
3 gallons of trim paint (I have a specific color)
1 gallon of accent paint (I have a specific color)
2 dozen trash bags
paint brushes, paint brushes, paint brushes
blue tape

Non-RedNeck Westsider

July 13, 2011, 12:37:45 AM
I'll be there saturday with crown moulding.

Any particular size?


July 13, 2011, 06:22:57 AM
Non-red, the crown is for exterior window trim.  There is nothing there right now, but there used to be.  Simplier the better as exterior crown is rather plain as compared to interior. 



July 13, 2011, 06:25:02 PM
We will have Preservation SOS Make it Happen T-shirts available for sale: $10 each.  It is likely we can set up a time/place prior to the event day to purchase a shirt to wear on the day. 


July 14, 2011, 07:01:23 AM
Great idea to have t-shirts for sale...I'll be getting mine  :)

Springfield Chicken

July 14, 2011, 10:10:41 AM
Please make the shirts a light color!  It will be hot enough without wearing something that absorbs heat!


July 14, 2011, 02:40:14 PM
They are white with red screen. 
Certain of that.


July 14, 2011, 03:45:38 PM
We will have Preservation SOS Make it Happen T-shirts available for sale: $10 each.  It is likely we can set up a time/place prior to the event day to purchase a shirt to wear on the day. 

You can put me down for two large. Looking forward to the 23rd.


July 14, 2011, 06:24:38 PM
I will keep everyone informed about t-shirts and presales and will hold aside for those who have asked in advance. 

Non-RedNeck Westsider

July 15, 2011, 02:57:22 PM
I was looking forward to joining you guys next weekend, but I will be out of town from Wed. on. 

I left the materials on Ionia's porch as instructed.  Sheclown, Strider - I wasn't sure what you were looking for exactly, so I left a couple pieces of bed moulding for the windows and a stick of cypress crown for any extra's you might feel like doing.  It's not much, but it's what you asked for. 

If it's not enough, or if you want to do some more, I have tons of the bed sitting around and probably 3-4 more sticks of the cypress.

I won't be able to get it to you until after next week, though, so keep that in mind.


July 17, 2011, 10:48:10 PM
We've received a number of generous donations from the community.  This truly is a community project.  If you would like to donate or don't want to come empty handed on July 23rd, bringing a case of water and a handful of paint brushes would be great. 
Thanks for your support.


July 19, 2011, 11:00:56 PM
I have the Make it Happen SOS T-shirts.
$10 each.

Want it before Saturday? 
Make arrangements by emailing preservationsos@yahoo.com
I'm tentatively planning Friday night 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. on my porch for pre-sales.  I'll post sooner to Friday my address for those interested.

They will also be available for purchase on Saturday.

Thanks for your support.


July 19, 2011, 11:24:53 PM
Nicole, Robert of Roberts Eatery 485-0273 call first has been setting up at 8th and Ionia and I was telling him about you and he thinks that he has met you in the past when you stopped by. My number is 434-0839-cell and if I could meet you there tomorrow or Thurs. I'd like to see you again bring the shirts and a few extra and kill two birds with one stone. Hope we can Make it Happen.


July 21, 2011, 04:32:44 AM
Got my SOS T-shirts yesterday from Nicole and I already delivered one to Robert at Robert's Eatery. He bought his and he will be selling some discounted ones today and Friday at 8th and Ionia while supplies last. He'll be there from 1-4 both days. Look for the Gator tent.
If your in a hurry just do the drive up for a water or soda. It will be hot today.
Show the love Springfield.
Make it Happen.


July 21, 2011, 08:33:10 AM
Preparation work has begun. Came outside yesterday morning and this morning to see a team already working. It is going to look great.


July 21, 2011, 05:59:03 PM
We started yesterday with repairs and priming, we continued today and will finish tomorrow.  We repaired the porch floor, built new rails for the porch and a small new rail for the back deck.  We replaced siding.  We primed the whole house.  Saturday should be a pleasant working day for friends and neighbors volunteering.  Lots, and lots of painting.  A fair amount of brick laying and landscaping.  Thank you to the men at Glory Homes who have made these last 2 days, and tomorrow, happen. 

Here is what is left to "get:"
2 porch chairs (I can email you a pic of what I have already purchased, just need 2 more)
2 one gallon pots of drought tolerant plants for two hanging planters
1 5 gallon evergreen shrub (the kind to cover a fence panel, I can be more specific if you are interested)
cases of water and chests of ice

Please bring shovels and other landscape items for digging, raking, etc.  You are welcome to bring a paint brush or more, I did by several (a lot!) of inexpensive ones. . . but if you want to paint with something better. . . . .Please, please, please, label items you want to make it back home with you!!

John and Monica, Tony and Brad, and Mr. Murray are preparing an incredible lunch for everyone. 

Thanks everyone for your support.  Oscar is very appreciative.


July 21, 2011, 10:45:48 PM
^^ I've received committments from the items above. 

Cases of water and chests of ice welcome still.

Would love 2 matching red ceramic pots, about 24" round for Oscar's stoop.
Rectangular planters would work just fine too.

Thanks everyone!


July 22, 2011, 02:29:32 PM
We are absolutely set for tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone.

Chests of ice and water appreciated.
Bring your garden tools.
I have plenty of paint brushes, but if you have a special one you like to use, bring it for yourself: I bought only the inexpensive ones.

See you at 8 a.m. (or earlier or later depending on your schedule.)  I'll be at Oscar's at 7 a.m. to set-up.


July 22, 2011, 09:35:41 PM
I'll be at Oscar's tomorrow too! 



July 23, 2011, 05:43:50 AM

We get by with a little help from our friends.


July 23, 2011, 07:59:03 AM
That's a great pic - all people I am blessed to know


July 23, 2011, 08:21:31 PM
can't wait to see the after pics! we all worked hard today!


July 24, 2011, 07:47:19 AM
That was great!  You guys did a great job of putting it together!  What a great family to do it for


July 24, 2011, 12:01:15 PM
Here are a few pics from the project.  Specific to a before and after:



July 24, 2011, 12:11:37 PM



July 24, 2011, 12:40:01 PM
Oscar's grandsons worked very hard.  At the end of the day, they were very proud of their "new" house!


July 24, 2011, 12:52:15 PM
thanks for posting the photos. The before and after ones really showcase what transpired


July 24, 2011, 03:01:36 PM
Wow, did we even repaint the sky? Before = gray sky, after= blue sky, white puffy clouds.  And I know SheClown is not that adept at PhotoShop.

Clearly, somebody "up there" was helping too.


July 24, 2011, 03:47:51 PM
Clearly, somebody "up there" was helping too.

with the weather too. sure, it was hot... but today we would have had rain which is worse if you try to paint.


July 24, 2011, 05:30:58 PM
thanks for posting the photos. The before and after ones really showcase what transpired
The photos were great. Events like this make Springfield such a fantastic neighborhood!


July 24, 2011, 06:12:14 PM
My turn to break my own cardinal rule about posting-

A HUGE Gigantic thank you to Glory Homes, your guys are the best!!!! I was a little disappointed to not see so mant on the day we showed up because I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking to them!!! Please give them a heart felt thanks, I know there was hours and days of prep that went into this that Glory Homes spear headed. I love you guys- thank you!!!


July 24, 2011, 07:07:04 PM
Thanks Girl.

The guys love helping out.  Nicole was great feeding them lunch everyday and marshalling the talent.  She really covered for me as I was running around attempting to keep the paying jobs going.

It truly was a wonderful experience. We also had other contractors helping too.  Nicole, talk about the screens and the bricks.


July 24, 2011, 07:14:01 PM
Wow! great work SOS!


July 24, 2011, 11:15:28 PM
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."        Margaret Mead

Springfield is the place where one can make things happen.  Literally.  I am absolutely proud to call Springfield my home away from home and am honored to meet and know SO many loving and generous people. 

I giggle, because this Make it Happen Preservation Project at Oscar's was incredible: Oscar's house looks better than all of my Springfield houses put together!  LOL.  Many of us joked after that we would love to have a "make it happen" at our own homes.  New and homes require constant attention, love, and upkeep; homes are truly lifetime projects.

This 3rd preservation project went off without a hitch and that is solely due to the donations and volunteerism of friends and neighbors in and around Historic Springfield.  100% of this project is donations and volunteerism.  We amassed approximately 75 people through-out the day at Oscar's house.  WOW.  A few times during the day I stepped back in the street, looked at all the hustle and bustle and grinned.  Pretty stinkin' cool if you ask me. 

It is hard for me to do a call out to individuals because like most of us, I don't want to leave out anyone.  But there are a few folks who need to be recognized (in no specific order:) 

John and Monica Ford: For their cash donation for materials and supplies, for their love and nomination of their neighbor Oscar, for their hospitality in opening up their yard for us to enjoy.  John and Monica are good people and I am glad to know them.

Joe Markusic and Gloria Devall:  We started prep work on the Wednesday before.  7 a.m. to approx 4 p.m. for 3 total days.  I was provided with 4-6 hard working, polite, talented men in recovery to scrape, sand, repair, prime, and build new porch rails.  They were beyond great and truly allowed a quality job to be done on Saturday by volunteers. Our projects could not be completed without their support. 

Phil Collins: Master welder, creative artist extroidinaire, while only a "hobbie" he forged the most incredible number sign I've ever seen.  I asked (he says I ordered him LOL,) him a few months ago if he could create a number sign for Oscar.  He agreed.  The finishing touches make a huge difference.  Man I love Oscar's number sign!

John Fabiano:  He has graciously taken on the lead of landscape artistry.  His design is always jaw dropping, creative, purposeful, and as I like to say "magazine worthy." I've personally taken a lot of inspiration from John and his design.  He loves the neglected corners and lots of Springfield and I so admire that.

Tony Sullivan and Brad May: For the second time, catered lunch.  Food is the great equalizer and these guys got it going on.  The mac and cheese is to die for.  They always think the are "getting out of work" by cooking for everyone, but truly the job of keeping volunteers fed is one of the most important, if not THE most important job.

Josh Kennedy of First Coast Home Pros: Supplied multiple ladders and made in advance the gorgeous wood stained screens for Oscar's front windows.  This finishing touch really showed how much love went into Oscar's house. He also provided a cash donatnion and committed to placing the donated pendant lamp on Oscar's porch that we were unable to do yesterday. 

Lane Manis: Who made it clear to First Coast News they WOULD send a reporter out NOW to do a piece on this project.  And of course they did.  Positive press for Springfield is a good thing, and Oscar was beside himself that he was on the news. Additionally, Lane and Steve allowed me to "shop" in their wood pile where I found enough wood to cut spindles and make porch floor repairs.

Lamar Campbell:  Provided the primer and blue house paint.  He shopped and delivered, gotta love that. Paint and landscape are the big ticket items.  It is a stress reliever to know that they are covered.

Anonymous donor: All of the plants I had on my original list were donated in full by a Springfield resident.  And even better: delivered.  The crepe myrtles are gorgeous!

Hailing Zhong: Preservation SOS/Make it Happen T-shirts.  We still have some and I would be happy to deliver local and pick up your $10/shirt.  Then you will be all set for our next Make it Happen project!

John Noone: Bought several shirts and passed them along to Robert who runs the hotdog cart at 8th/Ionia Street.  Robert, his daughter, and brother came along and spent the morning painting!!!!!  It is so important to support our local folks.  $3.50 for a dog, chips, and a drink?????  Do stop by sometime and eat good and cheap!

Crissie Cudd:  Crispy creates the most fantastic videos of our project.  I have used them time and time again to show people what SOS and Make it Happen is all about.  She helps sell Make it Happen.

John Wells of Low Country Classics:  Delivered through-out the week 1,000 bricks for the project.  1,000!!!!!  The bricks used in the landscaping tie in Oscar's unique brick wall and were so needed.  John really took to heart my "bricks, bricks, bricks!!!"

Amanda Searle and Ray Beeson from Sustainable Springfield: The took us in and made our life easy.  Donations folks made are tax deductible because of them.  Plus shoppping with the SS debit card made life super easy for me!  LOL. They are very good to us and I am appreciative.

Julie Ann Dostal: For being my last minute Lowe's shopper and providing fence plants and porch paint.  She has always saved me in the last hours.

Joan, Debbie, Cathy, Joe, Gloria, Alex, Karla, Johannes for helping to keep SOS alive and in full force for preservation.

Janet Dahsield, Debbie Thompson, Karla and Alex Stremitzer, Renee Parenteau-Bradford, Doug and Doris Vanderlaan, and someone I can not remember (dang it!) provided cash donations which allowed me purchase wood for all the rails on the porch, all the paint supplies, trim and accent paint, roof paint, hanging baskets etc. I will also purchase a screen door for Oscar this week and install.

I saw plants come in the hands of volunteers, sand for the bricks, soil for the pots, POTS!, stepping stones, mortar, the pendant lamp, cupcakes!, water and chests of ice (thank you!) Bales of straw, my goodness!  The list goes on and on.   

The volunteers made it happen!  LABOR!  FREE!  Springfield, as everyone will attest to here,) is a great place to live.  Without everyone who helped that day, under no circumstances would Oscar's house look as it does today.  Whether you were there for an hour or a few more than that,or there all day, EVERY hand, EVERY effort Made it Happen.  Thank you!!

At the end of the day, Oscar had some of his family come over to show them his house.  John Ford said that this is probably the first time in 30 years that Oscar, well, could feel the way he does about the love he recieved and how gorgeous his home looks now.  He was proud to show his family the end result.  My husband follows from 3,000 miles away the project, and he says we need a TV show. LOL.  He has always been impressed at what folks here do to help others.  I say if a TV show can get us some money to preserve our houses and help our neighbors, I'm game.  A gal can dream, right? 

Everyone, thank you. 

Please, chime in if I missed someone.  Certainly not my intent.  Love to all who Made it Happen.


July 25, 2011, 07:26:29 AM
And many thanks to Nicole, for bringing together all the wonderful people that could make it happen. Your devotion to the causes you believe in are infectious to those around you. Thank you for finding our little neighborhood. You really are a very special person.


July 25, 2011, 05:40:48 PM
And many thanks to Nicole, for bringing together all the wonderful people that could make it happen. Your devotion to the causes you believe in are infectious to those around you. Thank you for finding our little neighborhood. You really are a very special person.

Amen to that!
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