Remodelers Join Together and Donate Services for Area Family

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When Donna Dew was ordering a handbag for her daughter-in-law online, the furthest thing from her mind was discovering the next NARI to the Rescue recipient.

Dew and her husband are active members of NARIGC, whose members periodically band together to assist homeowners for a NARI to the Rescue project.

When Dew was having trouble ordering a gift online at thirtyone.com, she contacted the company by phone who referred her to local representative, Stacy Fulkerson. Fulkerson assisted Dew with her purchase and as they visited, Fulkerson realized that she was speaking with someone in her own neighborhood who was a remodeler. Since she was seeking a remodeling quote for work to make their home accessible to accommodate their growing five-year-old quadriplegic son James; she decided to have the Dews come out for an estimate for a couple of projects:  converting the garage into a therapy room for James and to rehab the bathroom to make it more accessible.  

Shortly after, the Dews visited the Fulkerson’s Schaumburg home. It was built in the 1960s, and they quickly realized that it was the same model home as their own Schaumburg residence but without the basement.  When the estimate presented proved beyond their means and budget, the Dews suggested that the Fulkersons might be a candidate for a NARI to the Rescue project, but could not make any promises.

The Dews brought the bathroom project needs to the attention of the Greater Chicagoland NARI board, which unanimously voted in favor of the project last winter.

The project; now finished, converted a small hall bath to a bath space that can accommodate James’ growing needs. Everything that was done was accessible so his wheelchair could get through:  The wall was moved out by a foot; gaining space from a main hall and linen closet. The group relocated the linen closet in some blank space in the foyer. A vanity that spanned the entire wall was removed and replaced with a new sink and a tall cabinet for storage. The bathroom door was removed and a wider entry was created with pocket door access. The space-saving toilet tank is now located behind the wall and the toilet hangs from the wall. The new roll-in/walk-in shower features a slight floor slant so the water drains in a new drain that runs along the back wall and the entire floor is heated with a new radiant heat system. The project was completed in six weeks. The Fulkersons went to live with relatives for about two weeks during the dusty drywall phase and used a second bath at home the rest of the time.

All of the work was conducted with care by NARI members who donated their time, talent and supplies to transform the Fulkerson’s bath into a wheelchair amenable one. Donna and Mike Dew of Oak Tree Construction (Schaumburg) headed the coordination and scheduled the 21 other NARIGC members who came forward to help.

“In the past we have helped families with children having medical conditions which require special construction needs, fire damaged kitchens, and families getting back on their feet following homelessness or disaster,” said Mimi Altman, executive director of NARI Chicago. “Every few years our members have been able to complete a project like this. We couldn’t be happier with this project: from how it came to our attention to the finish.”

“I recently ran into Mark Evans, the father of four special needs children we helped with a NARI to the Rescue bathroom project in 2009. He told me that they always think of NARI when they use the special shower our members built. This was truly heartwarming and unexpected,”  added Altman.

“So many wonderful people came into our lives and for NARIGC to do this for us is phenomenal – we are forever grateful,” said Stacy Fulkerson.

“You couldn’t describe a ‘meant to be’ scenario more accurately,” said Donna Dew. “We are all thrilled with the end result and pleased so many members came together for this project.”

 

Based in Des Plaines, The Greater Chicagoland Chapter of NARI (www.narichicago.org) is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1987 and currently consisting of approximately 280 member companies. NARI Chicago is committed exclusively to the service of the local professional remodeling industry, representing professional remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, trade and consumer publications, utilities and lending institutions.