Builders Care, Lennar partner to complete home remodel for local homeowner in need

A Bonita Springs woman with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) received the lifechanging gift of a home renovation just in time for the holidays.

Lee BIA Builders Care and Lennar Homes partnered to renovate the home of Miriam Garces, a 46-year-old mother of five, all at no cost. Work was completed in just under two weeks, and Garces’ newly remodeled home was revealed on Dec. 18.

For Garces and her family, this home renovation will create a world of difference. Garces was diagnosed last year with ALS, a progressive, degenerative disease affecting nerve cells that control muscle movement. As her condition quickly progresses, Garces and her family are in critical need of home modifications that are necessary to support her daily activities.

The Garces family thought Builders Care was completing a bathroom remodel to allow for greater accessibility. When they entered their home, they found a total transformation. In addition to the renovated bathroom that now features an accessible roll-in shower, Lennar also presented the family with an array of surprises. A concrete ramp was installed at the front entry that will help Garces come and go with ease. New flooring was installed to allow Garces to navigate her wheelchair with ease. The kitchen also revealed new customized cabinetry, countertops and shelving to accommodate accessibility for Garces and her family, as well as all new appliances. Laundry room modifications were made, including a custom pocket door and custom shelving for easier accessibility. Bedrooms were given new life and finishing touches included new living room furniture, fresh linens, holiday décor and presents under the Christmas tree.

Outside, new gutters were installed, the home was pressure-washed and received a fresh coat of exterior paint, and landscaping was refreshed.

Husband Carlos Garces said he and his wife are both big fans of home improvement shows on TV, and were shocked to find themselves on the receiving end. From the moment they pulled into the driveway, the “big reveal” already had them in tears.

“We didn’t pay a dime here, not even a penny. It was all donated,” Carlos Garces said. “God bless every single person who put their sweat and tears in here. I can’t pay you, but the guy upstairs will pay you. Like I tell everybody, what you sow, you reap.”

Ray Kershaw, vice president of construction for Lennar, said the Garces family’s biggest struggle was with accessibility, particularly navigating the small bathroom. What made this renovation project especially worthwhile for Lennar and each project partner was knowing how much it would impact a family that truly has stood together and grown stronger through the challenges of 2020.

“It’s what touches your heart and what you can do to give back to the community,” Kershaw said. “When you find a deserving family like the Garceses, it makes it all worthwhile. To see what we did today and how much they appreciated what we had done is just an amazing feeling.”

Improvements and modifications were made possible thanks to the generous contribution of Lennar Homes and a number of local partner suppliers and contractors. Project partners included 84 Lumber, Bluewater Construction of SW Florida, Carrigan Brothers, Cemex Construction Materials, City Furniture, Division 16, EC Installations, Emser, Florida Heat & Air, Franceschi Marble & Granite, GMR Development Group, HomeTeam Pest Defense, Household Cleaning, Knights Creations, Mabri Painting, Moen, Nilles Design Group, Platinum Service Contracting, Prestige Cleaning, Raymond Building Supply, Rice Insulation and Glass, Ron’s Jons, Schlage Locks, Shaw, Sherwin-Williams, Southwest Disposal & Clean-Up, Sunnygrove Landscaping, V.F. Camacho Enterprises Inc., and Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings.

“Miriam and her family have gone through so much over the past year, so we are pleased that they can spend the holidays in a home that is more comfortable and accessible,” said Crystal Stouten, executive director of Lee BIA Builders Care. “We are so grateful to Lennar for leading this special project and for all our project partners who contributed their time, materials and financial support to provide such an incredible gift for this sweet family.”

About Lee BIA Builders Care

The mission of Lee BIA Builders Care is to provide emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and/or disabled homeowners, and their families, who cannot obtain repairs through traditional means. Lee BIA Builders Care offers a full range of no-cost emergency construction services to improve the safety and health for needy seniors and disabled individuals of all ages by enlisting the expertise and donated services and materials of contractors, sub-contractors and businesses. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $4.75 million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Builders Care is funded through financial donations, grants and donated services and materials to provide emergency construction services to qualified homeowners throughout the community. Lee BIA Builders Care is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association. Lee BIA Builders Care is headquartered at 6835 International Center Blvd. #4 in Fort Myers. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.org. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056, and by following Builders Care at www.Facebook.com/LeeBuildersCare.