Volunteers are working to transform Hughes mansion for veterans returning from war

Hughes Mansion
Volunteers helping to fix up the abandoned home.

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Volunteers are cleaning up a 19th-century mansion in Warren. Looking to provide a home for men and women returning from war.

When Anna Gasser first saw the Hughes Mansion, she could tell the 19th-century home had seen better days.

“It was the scary white house from your normal horror movie. Literally. Walking around with no lights and not knowing what was around those corners, said Anna Gasser, project organizer.

This weekend, the mansion was filled with life again. Volunteers helping to fix up the abandoned home.

“Cleaning up the floors, the floors are a mess. A lot of plaster, a lot of drywall, a lot of old rotting woodwork. We’re just tearing it up and throwing it away,” said Jessi Miller, of Canton.

“Any little bit I can do to contribute to changing it around or helping, whether it’s cleaning up or picking up trash, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Mark Waltko, of Warren.
All the work is in service of returning veterans. The mansion will become a boarding house. Each veteran will have a private bedroom and semi-private bathroom.

“All the other rooms will be common areas. We’re not going to break up the mansion into apartments or anything like that. You lose its history. We wanted to keep it as-is,” said Gasser.

But there’s another reason for the boarding-house layout. Making sure returning veterans don’t live in isolation.

“It’s giving these guys a sense of community, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose. So bringing back the Hughes mansion kind of fit that bill,” said Gasser.

The volunteers hope to have the mansion ready next year. So veterans can make their home there in March 2016.

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