Slain Ohio soldier's dad gets surprise home help

CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio father who has kept up efforts to support U.S. troops after his own son's death is getting support of his own.

Dozens of friends, volunteers and business donors recently surprised Keith Maupin (MAW'-pin) by launching a makeover of his home in Clermont County, near Cincinnati. They began planning the project after some realized that Maupin had been letting some things go while focusing on the Yellow Ribbon Support Center.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports ( ) that the center is moving into Maupin's large garage because of a rent hike for its strip mall space.

Maupin established the center that ships care packages to troops after his son after his son Keith "Matt" Maupin was captured in Iraq in 2004 by insurgents who ambushed his convoy. Matt Maupin was seen in a video shortly after his capture surrounded by masked insurgents, but couldn't be found by U.S. searchers.

The center opened in his hometown shipped care packages to troops in Iraq, with pictures of Matt placed inside so they might help find him.

The center soon expanded to helping troops besides those in Iraq, sending everything from snacks to hygiene products to magazines in the packages. In 2008, Maupin's remains were located in Iraq and returned home. But the center continued, with a fund started in 2006 annually awarding college scholarships to high school seniors. The center also added a memorial museum.

Shannon Moore, who owns a plumbing company, said that while repairing a sink in Maupin's home, he had noticed other work that needed to be done in the house.

"He's too worried about everybody else," Moore said. "He puts all his money right back into the Yellow Ribbon Foundation."

Moore's initial plan was to renovate Maupin's kitchen and bathroom, but "it snowballed into something huge."

Jumping in was Michael Barrett, owner of a heating and air conditioning service in Covington, Ky. He heard Maupin's air conditioner was broken, so he fixed it and began making calls to others about the renovation effort.

Some 20 businesses local and national, such as The Home Depot and Sears, pitched in for what will be a makeover updating Maupin's home and garage, using donated materials and labor.

The Patriot Guard Riders are among volunteers on the project. They often ride their motorcycles to help out with memorial services for fallen troops.

"This is a fun one for us," said Mike Hamilton of West Chester Township. He said Maupin "has been steadfast about taking care of the troops and seeing that they're supported. He's never faltered. And he's always there for us whenever we need anything. We felt it was time for payback."

Maupin said he is very appreciative of the help, while he plans to "continue the mission and support the men and women serving in harm's way and remember those that don't walk off the plane."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.