Home Makeover

Uploaded by awiderworld on 05.02.2010


And my dream for Derenda was that she would be able to live independently in her home.
Well it started with Brandi and I having a conversation one night at dinner, Brandi
and her husband are friends with my wife and I and it was just that we wanted to help
somebody and now write a check to an organization but get involved and help somebody.
My sister in law is Brandi and when she met Derenda she called me knowing I like to
always try to pay it forward.
We wanted to help somebody who really want expecting it or looking for it, we wanted to
help somebody who just needed to catch a break.
And Stephanie is Derendas home care worker.
So Stephanie and Brandi were talking while they were running and just started
talking about what we were trying to put together.
And she said " Oh I have the person for you", and told us about Derenda.
She was kind of like trapped here, she couldn't shower, she couldn't cook, there were
things that were on the floor that she couldn't pick up, boxes she couldn't move.
She didn't have anywhere to store her medical supplies, anywhere to store her clothes.
She didn't really have any resources and she is the primary care giver for her
brother who is mentally challenged.
So for her all these obstacles can be overwhelming and she I think just settled with all of
I'm her insurance adjuster, so I called my contractors that I had used for a long time,
Diana jumped on board and she made phone calls and we put the word out and everybody
kinda just stepped up.
This is something were they had asked us if we would get involved from a charitable
perspective and once we got to meet Derenda and meet the family and know the situation
that they had, we would have done it anyway, but getting to know her and knowing what
she's doing, giving back to the community and how much she's done with getting her
masters degree, having a son in college, taking care of her brother.
It was a very quick yes to help out.
So we came to Derenda just to ask her what she thought of having someone come in and
help her because not everybody is receptive to that, she doesn't think of herself as a
person who needs help.
So what started out as a simple project to help Derenda organize her bedroom began to
grow into a major renovation.
Each volunteer recruited others, and pretty soon Derendas home make over began
to take shape.
Its such a great case of ordinary people helping ordinary people.
Once we brought it to our tile guy and our flooring people, they were like us, they are
very conscientious, they were ready to donate anything they had.
My wife and her parents did the curtains, theres a paint contractor that I have used a
lot of times who donated the painting services, XRI donated the refrigerator because we
told them how she couldn't reach the top shelf of the refrigerator.
You have all the real work happening over 2 weeks.
The planning was a couple weeks ahead of that, lining up the volunteers and everything.
But all the real work happened in 2 weeks.
And in about 40 days from start to finish we got to where we are today.
The furniture, the paint, the floors, the bathroom, the kitchen, the access to the
backroom, it's like a home makeover show in some ways.
Without the big truck in the front yard.
I mean the whole house has basically been redone, we painted the house, the floors
have been refinished and revarnished, theres been window treatments in every
room, the kitchen has it now for her to be able to wheel up to the counter with a sink
that she can reach.
We added a side by side refrigerator donated, the cabinets are packed with food,
dream dinners had donated 15 or so dinners for her to have in her freezer.
The sunroom which she couldn't even get into now has a wheelchair ramp going down so
she can go out into that room.
There's new carpeting out there; there's a desk and a file cabinet out there for her
to have a office to be able to work in.
The bathroom is the reason why we came.
The bathroom had a tub and a sliding door on it so obviously she could not
utilize that; she couldn't reach the sink in the bathroom.
So the whole bathroom was completely gutted, replummed, and its just brand new.
The counter tops are brand new, the tile is brand new, everything is brand new in the
So we are really happy about the bathroom.
And all the bedrooms basically, there were blow up mattress's in the bedroom,
there was no furniture in the bedrooms.
The bedrooms all now have a bed, a headboard, a dresser, and now they are just really
homey and beautiful.
After spending 2 weeks at a local hotel courtesy of the volunteers and there
supporters, Derenda, her son Brian and brother Dale returned home to a house full
of friends eager to show them there newly renovated home.
They had a tub in here, the doorway was narrow, it wasn't accessible with her
wheelchair, she needed help getting in and out and it just wasn't conducive to comfort.
So was the most challenging, to make it so she could actually have space in here,
turn around in her wheelchair, situation by herself, have that independence and create
more independence for her.
You know its been a long time since I have been able to take care of my personal needs in a
great way, so I cant wait to be able to take a shower.
It was a old hospital bed and there was no furniture at all, she lived out of cardboard
boxes, Rubbermaid containers, there was nothing in there.
So now that everything is at her reach.
Now I'll be able to cook a turkey for Christmas and I wont have to try to put
everything on my lap to cook.
Umm my brother is excited about it and I am just so happy to see him smiling
because I haven't seen that in a long time.
In the bible it says clearly it is better to give then to receive, but there are times
when god will allow you to receive in a great way.
And I just appreciate all of this because it allows me to be independent.
I want to thank everyone for what they did.
Its hard to put it in words, I know when I get up tomorrow I will still be looking around
saying are we in the right house.