Volunteers help repair family’s crumbling home, saving it from being condemned

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COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Dozens of volunteers dropped everything Saturday to help repair a family’s crumbling home.

They started the massive project last year, but are now in a race against time to complete it before winter weather arrives.

“They’re like guardian angels,” said Betty Walker, who owns the property and lives there with her two children, "When it first happened I was praying something terrible."

The house on Betula Ave was going to be the Walkers' dream home.

Betty’s husband Kevin had big plans and already begun a new addition when he became sick and passed away in 2015.

“My husband was a contractor, he started working on the house, but he was told he had an infection in his stomach and it turned out to be lymphoma,” said Betty, who is herself disabled.

With no means to finish the construction, the partially built structure very quickly fell into disrepair and in 2017 was deemed a “nuisance” property in violation of Copley Townships Building Codes.

The leaking roof was collapsing, combined with foundation and mold issues.

Copley Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Newman could have had the structure torn down, but instead did something remarkable.

He organized an effort called Project Building Blocks to not only fix the Walkers' house, but to then repair homes of other struggling Copley residents.

“We want to revitalize areas in Copley and this is a nice way to help those who are in need,” said Newman, “That’s our ultimate goal to help as many Copley residents as possible, once we determine the true need.”

Over the past 12 months they helped remove damaged household goods, poured concrete floors, built walls, roughed in plumbing and on Saturday installed a new roof.

All of the work is being done by volunteers -- from churchgoers to trustees, and especially with help from Wesley Henry and his group called the Angels in Blue Jeans.

The building materials are also donated.

Newman says, they’ve received support from many businesses including but not limited to “Graves Lumber,” “Copley Tool Rental,” and “Shelly’s” concrete.

For more information on donations, volunteering or getting assistance from the new program contact Jeff Newman at 330-666-0108 ext.1175.

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