SPONSORED – The Handy Neighbors of Nassau County

From past posts, you hopefully have a good sense of Umbrella, the task service that helps aging seniors stay independent. We’ve already introduced you to a group of Handy Neighbors lending their domestic talents to the residents of Brooklyn. Just as in our fair borough, Umbrella’s Nassau County arm relies on the skills and generosity of its Handy Neighbors. And it seems like Nassau is keeping them very busy!

Via Umbrella

Take a few minutes to check out these Nassau County Handy Neighbors:

BRAD COHEN

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a retired health care administrator and college professor. I taught an Associates degree program for medical professionals. I grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and ultimately moved to Nassau County. I have a number of hobbies — I’m an avid tennis player and like to travel.

How’d you come to be a Handy Neighbor for Umbrella and why do you do it?

When I retired, I was looking for something to do. I have handy skills from fixing stuff around my own house for 20+ years. Obviously, I don’t do this job for the money.

I saw an ad, talked with Sam, and I signed up. It took a while for it to get going here, so for the first 4-5 months, I really didn’t do anything. I had taken a part-time job, which I found very uninteresting to do, so I got back in touch and they’ve kept me VERY busy since — 3 or 4 days a week.

I’ve done furniture assembly, electrical fixtures, painting, minor plumbing, cleaning out gutters… I enjoy all of that! I’ve always been interested in home repairs and renovations.

What’s a memorable Umbrella experience you’ve had?

I went to assemble a backyard furniture set for someone and somebody’s husband had done the other half of it and when I got there all these parts were left over. So I did the other side and I still had all these parts and I said, “You want me to take apart the other side?” She said, “No, no. We’ll save the parts and if it falls apart, we’ll call you.”

I’ve been very happy to meet with everybody. I really like doing this. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people — essentially my neighbors, people in my community. I like the idea of helping people that otherwise might not be able to do things on their own.

I think that part of what the program is for the members is they get a visit from somebody. It’s nice to have somebody come into your house, especially if you live alone. Like next week I have a job installing fixtures and light bulbs for someone who’s wheelchair-bound. That’s the kind of thing I like doing, going back to when I was younger. I always wanted to do something like that.

via Umbrella

SANDY MURRAY

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I used to work installing alarm systems and working on alarm systems. So I’ve always been semi-handy. I’ve been retired for a few years.

I’m also a car enthusiast — I’m a Corvette guy. I had an old Corvette that I just got rid of and got a new one.

Has anyone asked you to work on their car? 

No. And I really wouldn’t want to. It’s funny because when I started to work with Umbrella, they sent out a pretty extensive questionnaire about what you wanted to do and what you didn’t want to do. I only work on my own car.

How’d you come to be a Handy Neighbor for Umbrella and why do you do it?

I read an article about Umbrella, how they had started in upstate New York. And I initially looked at it because my brother lives in the area. It sounded interesting. My wife was looking at it too and she said they’re moving down to Long Island and would you be interested? So being retired and having free time, I gave them a call and was impressed with their model of what they wanted to do. I was also very impressed by the co-founder who started it, Lindsay Ullman. She’s a Yale graduate, worked for Google, she’s got this idea and she’s running with it. The whole idea is kind of cool.

I’ve been working with them for a few months now. I started out doing it once a week. Lately, it’s been getting busier. Next week I think I have three things to do. They’re becoming more known.

I see the value in it. You want to stay in your home but you need to maintain your home. Little things happen that could become a pain in the neck to take care of. As you get older, friends who help you – they’re no longer there. Your husband – he’s no longer there. And simple things become big things.

The fact that they vet people as well as they do gives people the ability to trust the people they’re going to send over to them. On the other end, guys who are retired, they have time, they’re fairly handy and enjoy this kind of work. It’s a win-win.

What’s your favorite Umbrella memory/experience?

A couple, who were kind of cute, called up about an answering machine that didn’t work. So I went there. I had worked with telephones so I know a bit about them, and everything worked fine. I got the feeling that they just wanted someone to come in and reassure them. I wound up staying there half an hour just talking with them.

I just enjoy talking to people.

via Umbrella

BLAKE VOLKAN 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a handyman — I do everything from cutting grass to putting together playground sets.

I was born in Maryland, but I grew up in Europe – in Turkey and Germany. I was in the military over there and was trained a lot in carpentry. I have been in New York for about 4 years.

How’d you come to be a Handy Neighbor for Umbrella and why do you do it?

I came across Umbrella on Facebook. After a background check, I started. I’ve been working with them for 3 weeks. I work maybe 10 jobs a week. Because it’s mostly senior citizens on a budget, I just do it for fun.

What’s your favorite Umbrella memory/experience?

Well, I like Umbrella because the communication is very easy. I work for 18 apps and Umbrella is one of the easiest to contact. You send them a message, they get back to you right away. It makes your life easier.

This post was sponsored by Umbrella. If you would like to reach our readers, please contact us.

 

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