Updated: Feb 28
In 1972, twenty-one year old James Spiteri walked into the detention center with the hope of speaking to a young man about Christianity, life, and the circumstances that led them both behind bars. As a volunteer chaplain with the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center and the Orange County Jail, there were many days Spiteri sat in a cell speaking with individuals who were incarcerated.
Spiteri not only served his community, but also his country when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1971. “The service teaches you to work hard. It teaches you that you are stronger than you think,” says Spiteri. In 1994, after a year of marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Spiteri decided to buy a home in Central Florida—they chose “the prettiest house in the neighborhood.”
In 2014, Spiteri was diagnosed with tongue cancer—during treatment he was laid-off by his employer. His illness weakened his immunity system which increased his chances of catching infection, bringing his volunteer work as a chaplain to an end. Currently in remission, Spiteri has only 30% mobility in his body, no income, depleted savings, and massive hospital debt.
Throughout the years Spiteri worked to keep up the maintenance and beautification of his home; however, with limited mobility, Spiteri is no longer able to care for his home at the same capacity. After being informed by an electrician that his electricity box was old and his home could burn down at any moment, Spiteri reached out to Rebuilding Together Orlando (RTO) in the hopes of saving his dream house.
On November 10th, RTO is partnering with CBRE on a Veteran’s Day project for James Spiteri. RTO will be providing Spiteri with a new electrical box and on the project day volunteers will be painting the home and doing some landscaping. We are thankful for Mr. Spiteri’s service and we are honored to work with him for our Veteran’s Day project in partnership with CBRE.