Lee County building community, local businesses band together to improve home’s accessibility
Lee BIA Builders Care, the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA), partnered with Lennar Homes to complete a special home remodel project for the Poole family in Fort Myers, unveiling the newly completed home modifications on Thursday, Dec. 21. Volunteers and community partners worked around the clock for this family in need, completing the project in under a week at no cost to the homeowner, just in time for the family to enjoy during the holidays.
Anne Poole is a 75-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, single mother and long-term caregiver to two of her six children. She moved to Fort Myers from New York in 2004 when faced with financial struggles, medical bills and physical ailments, which forced her into early retirement from more than 20 years of employment with the U.S. Postal Service.
Anne adapted well to living in central Fort Myers, but life continued to throw her difficult curves. In 2014, after a lengthy battle with heart disease, Anne’s youngest daughter, Valerie, passed away at just 44 years of age. Anne was Valerie’s primary caregiver for many years before her passing. And while the family carried on as best they could, in 2016, another of Anne’s daughters, Virginia, who prefers to be called “Missy,” suffered a large stroke that resulted in paralysis to the left side of her body. Missy now lives with Anne in her small 840-square-foot home, as she is unable to care for herself. Though comfortable and happy to be together, the home is neither handicap accessible nor wheelchair friendly. Anne’s own medical and physical restraints, including heart disease, fibromyalgia and age, have further complicated living arrangements. Despite their struggles, Anne wouldn’t have it any other way.
By making the Poole family home more accessible to Missy, and taking all of her special needs into account, Lee BIA Builders Care has helped to make a dream come true for Anne. Improvements and modifications were made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Lennar Homes and a number of local partner suppliers and contractors. Modifications made to the home included: updating the existing shower for handicap accessibility, accommodating wheelchair use throughout the home by widening doorways and installing a small ramp at the front door, adding indoor/outdoor carpet to the patio area, adding insulation to the attic, installing a dryer vent through the attic and roof, new kitchen cabinets and exterior front door, plus palm tree trimming.
“We are very happy to be able to help Anne and Missy by providing them with a handicap accessible bathroom and a safe and healthy environment at home,” said Christi Pritchett, executive director of Lee BIA Builders Care. “This family has been given a life-changing gift this holiday season, and we are thankful for our valued partnership with Lennar Homes and the many volunteers and community partners who helped bring this special project to life.”
Lennar Homes and more than a dozen local business and community partners donated their time, services and building materials to update the Poole family home. Now Anne, Missy and their family are very much looking forward to spending the holidays in their newly transformed home.
About Lee Builders Care
Lee BIA Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Its mission is to provide emergency home repairs and construction services to elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged people who are unable to obtain home repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $4.25 million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Lee Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Lee Builders Care is headquartered at the Lee BIA office at 6835 International Center Blvd., Suite 4, in Fort Myers. The Building Industry Association (www.BIA.net ) is a 63-year-old association affiliated with National Home Builders Association and Florida Home Builders Association that serves to strengthen our community by advancing a professional building industry through advocacy, education and services. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.com. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056. Follow Builders Care at Facebook.com/LeeBuildersCare or on Twitter @LeeBuildersCare.