PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – Army and Air National Guardsmen Dillon Rodriguez and Keslie Honeycutt are receiving the surprise of a lifetime.
The veteran couple was selected by The Third Estimate and the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT) to receive a much-needed home makeover.
“Within the first six months, we found out that there were some leaks,” Honeycutt said. “There was a leak in the kitchen. It was raining from my kitchen ceiling and there was a leak in the front hallway.”
The leaks caused mold and were very expensive to manage as new homeowners, but things got worse when Rodriguez was involved in a serious car accident while on duty as a Cleveland police officer.
“I was so badly hurt with the car accident that eventually I lost my mobility and had to get around with a cane,” Rodriguez said. “Eventually I was in a wheelchair for a little bit.”
The cost of surgeries and care, plus the home repairs, became very burdensome.
“Moving into a new house in general, you don’t expect everything and then everything going wrong, it just adds up,” Honeycutt said.
Enter The Third Estimate. The Solon-based home contractors held a contest on Facebook for a home makeover.
“We partnered with NEOPAT and we had over 80 applicants, I believe,” CEO Tara Colopy said. “We came together as a team and when we heard Dillon and Keslie’s story, it was obvious that they were going to be the ones that we gave back to.”
Tara and Steve Colopy said it took months of planning, but a team of 50 people helped transform the home in five days.
“For me it makes me… I’m just so full of pride,” Tara said.
“I think we feel good enough about it that we will continue this tradition,” Steve said.
The roof, windows, siding and gutters were all replaced, totaling more than $60K in repairs, but the cherry on top is the flagpole in the front yard.
“That’s what we represented,” Rodriguez said. “Having that as part of our home now, the circle is complete.”
The couple said having the repairs off their plate allows them to focus on building a future.
“I think I’m just waiting on a ring for us to get married,” Honeycutt said.