What started with a loving grandmother accepting a new roof from a Good Samaritan has become life changing.
Jeanette MacDonald of Glace Bay says she’s overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness from the public since word spread that her home needed repairs and now even a government grant has been approved.
MacDonald said she wants the public to know she’s grateful and appreciative.
“My only concerns are for my grandsons that they are warm, healthy and happy,” she said. “I’m so appreciative for what everyone has done for us.”
On Friday MacDonald was excited as four new beds were delivered from J.R. Rahey’s in Sydney River.
“The beds are beautiful,” MacDonald said. “The boys are so excited.”
The beds were purchased by Lingan native Bobby Hanrahan, who has lived Caledon, Ont., for the past 30 years. Hanrahan, a loyal reader of the Cape Breton Post, had been following the story about MacDonald and the Good Samaritan who provide her with a new roof.
“The pictures (in the Post) are what touched me,” he said. “The thin mattresses on the floor. I reached out to Jeanette. She was completely wonderful and completely appreciative.”
Hanrahan, a social worker by trade, has his own business, Hanrahan Youth Services, and said the years have been good to him and he enjoys giving back.
However, when he called Rahey's to pay for the furniture, the total was lower than expected.
“He told me they were picking up (the cost of) two (beds),” he said. “That was a very generous gesture on their part."
Hanrahan also purchased all the bedding needed for the four beds.
Officials at J.R. Rahey's confirmed the donation of two beds.
“I’ve always been comfortable with what I had but it will make life more comfortable for my grandsons, that’s all that matters to me," said MacDonald.
She said Hanrahan told her he visits Cape Breton from time-to-time.
“I told him the next time he does he has to stop in,” she said.
MacDonald's story began when Jeremy Locke, the owner of Locke’s Roofing and Construction in Bridgeport, noticed the condition of her home's roof. In March, he stopped and offered to put one on for free, but not one to take handouts, she told him she had applied for a grant. Recently he noticed the roof had not been repaired and with winter coming, he was concerned. He again stopped by MacDonald's home and this time asked her if she wanted to be included in a raffle for a new roof. MacDonald eventually accepted his offer of help, soon discovering she would have been the only one in the raffle.
Since the Cape Breton Post reported the story of Locke’s good deed, there has been an outpouring of support from the community.
ARL Mechanical Ltd. provided and installed a heat pump, Woody’s Tree Service delivered wood for the wood stove and J Peach Masonry built a new chimney.
“It’s awesome how many people out there want to help,” MacDonald said emotionally. “Touching isn’t the word for it.”
Housing Nova Scotia has toured her house and now MacDonald said they are providing her with a grant of up to $18,000 for work to the outside and inside of the house. Plans include putting siding on the porch, replacing windows, doors, skirting around the house and renovating the bathroom.
MacDonald said a Glace Bay man with a construction company — who wanted to remain anonymous — is providing a front door, bedroom doors and flooring for the kitchen and bedrooms.
“He didn’t want any credit for it,” she said.
Krista Higdon, spokesperson for Housing Nova Scotia, couldn't speak to the specifics of the case for confidentiality reasons. However, she said the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Homeowners is one of several home repair programs offered by Municipal Affairs and Housing. It is an application-based program in the form of a forgivable loan.
Some criteria for the program include: meeting income thresholds, owning your own home and repairs that are urgent or health and safety related.