• RSS

Rebuilding Off The Ice

Tuesday, 05.8.2007 / 8:00 AM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
Share with your Friends

Rebuilding Off The Ice
Ruthie Gibson sits on her front porch as volunteers repair her North St. Louis home (Photo courtesy of Rebuilding Together - St. Louis).
The word “rebuild” has often been used to describe efforts by Blues President John Davidson to get the Blues back amongst the NHL’s most elite teams. But context is everything, and on Apr. 28, the word took on an entirely different meaning.

Blues goaltender Manny Legace and former players Bruce Affleck and Dwight Schofield traded their hockey sticks for hammers to help restore and rebuild the home of Ruthie Gibson, a 73-year old widow living in North St. Louis.

“I’m just trying to do my part,” Legace said. “I’m not trying to be anything special. (Ownership) has supported me all year and (I’m) just trying to give back a little. It’s not much, but I’m trying.”

For Legace, giving a little bit of his time may not seem like a big deal, but it made a world of difference for Gibson, whose home was in desperate need of repairs.

Just over a year ago, Gibson contacted Rebuilding Together – St. Louis, an organization designed to make improvements to the homes and communities of low-income families in the greater St. Louis area. Gibson’s name was added to the list of people who qualified for assistance.

Three weeks before the project was set to begin, a home inspector visited the Gibson house and made a list of important necessary repairs. The list was then turned over to Rebuilding Together – St. Louis, who divided up the available money and made the purchasing of supplies and materials possible.

“When we got this Rebuilding Together, this was the best thing I could have gotten,” Gibson said. “It was a good thing.”


Ruthie Gibson:
rebuilding day: 327kb
history of her house: 132kb

Manny Legace:
Blues in the community: 447kb

John Hopkins:
Blues' helpfulness: 298kb
Much like a pick-up game of street hockey, the volunteers that showed up brought with them a wide variety of talent and skill. Some dealt with plumbing issues while others worked with electrical wire. Legace spent some time cutting and laying tile in Gibson’s bathroom, while others simply took a broom and helped sweep up sawdust.

“I’ve never had so much company in my life,” Gibson said of the volunteers. “I’d never seen so many workers in one day.”

Led by House Captain John Hopkins, the 20-plus volunteers worked for more than eight hours to improve Gibson’s living conditions. The crew managed to replace a light fixture in Gibson’s kitchen and install a new sink, countertop and cabinets. In addition, they replaced rotting wood in the bathroom floor with new wood, installed new water supply lines and repaired a shaky front porch rail.

Because Gibson suffers from a heart condition that makes it difficult for her to breathe, one of the top priorities in improving her home involved removing the carpet and replacing it with laminate flooring, a task that was completed before the volunteers left for the evening.

“I’m breathing good now, so I know it’s a wonderful home,” Gibson said. “When I got that carpet off my floor and get all that out of there, I can breathe better. It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s like a light feeling to me, like I’m on air and I haven’t come down yet.”

Retired player Bruce Affleck helped get the Blues involved in the Gibson house project (Photo courtesy of Rebuilding Together - St. Louis).
It’s comments like these that makes Hopkins feel good about the work he’s doing.

An industrial arts teacher by day, Hopkins got involved with Rebuilding Together – St. Louis three years ago. As a house captain, he is responsible for purchasing materials and delegating duties to the volunteers to ensure that the most important work gets completed.

“(Rebuilding Together – St. Louis) is a worthwhile organization,” Hopkins said. “There are a lot of good people there and they’re doing a lot of good things for the community and really helping out low income people that don’t have the resources to help themselves. It’s something I’d recommend for everybody. You’d be surprised how much it helps you as well as it helps somebody else.

“The best part was the smile on her face, the big thanks and knowing that I could actually help make somebody else’s life a little bit easier and a little better,” Hopkins added.

For Gibson, the house she’s lived in for more than 40 years suddenly was a lot more comfortable. The small house was home for herself, her husband of 37 years and the seven children that called her ‘mom.’

Gibson was speechless after the work was completed.

“I’m very very happy with the work that they’ve done,” she said. “I’m so happy, words won’t explain it. Thing about it is, those people came in and didn’t know anything about me. It was a wonderful day.”

Legace was put to work as soon as he arrived, so when it came to socializing with Gibson, he didn’t get to spend much time talking with her. He did, however, have time to see that the work the volunteers accomplished had completely brightened her day.

“She had a big, ear-to-ear smile the whole day,” Legace said. “Every time I’d walk by her, she had a big grin on her face. That’s credit in itself. You don’t need publicity, you don’t need the TV cameras there. You just need to see her smiling, and that was worth the few hours that we put in during the day.”




1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56


V. Tarasenko 77 37 36 27 73
A. Steen 74 24 40 8 64
J. Schwartz 75 28 35 13 63
D. Backes 80 26 32 7 58
T. Oshie 72 19 36 17 55
P. Stastny 74 16 30 5 46
A. Pietrangelo 81 7 39 -2 46
J. Lehtera 75 14 30 21 44
K. Shattenkirk 56 8 36 19 44
P. Berglund 77 12 15 -2 27
B. Elliott 26 14 3 .917 2.26
J. Allen 22 7 4 .913 2.28

Single Game Tickets
Full Season
Half Season
12-Game Plans
Group Tickets
Luxury Suites
STH Portal
NHL Ticket Exchange
View From Your Seat

In the System
Front Office
Blues History
All-Time Player Roster
Chicago Wolves
Alaska Aces

Regular Season
Schedule Downloads
Promotions Schedule

Player Stats
League Standings

Blues Overtime Blog

Video Channels
Game Highlights


Find a Player
Mobile App
E-mail Subscriptions

Hot Deals for Cool Fans
Photo Galleries
License Plates

Blues in the Community
Blues 14 Fund
50/50 Raffle Numbers

Online Store
Blues Auctions
True Blues Authentics

stlouisblues.com is the official Web site of the St Louis Blues. St Louis Blues, stlouisblues.com and stlblues.com are trademarks of the St Louis Blues Hockey Club. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.