Victoria Newstead repeatedly wiped tears away Monday afternoon, as a group of close to 100 people gathered at Brookswood Estates mobile home park to unveil the newly renovated home that she shares with her brother, Jim, and their dog, Lucy.
Victoria and Jim were the latest recipients of the Acts of Kindness Society’s Extreme Home Repair. And, after two weeks away from their home, they were finally able to return late Monday afternoon and see first hand all the work that was done by volunteers to make their home “safe and healthy again.”
Once the speeches were over, and a school bus was moved to reveal the exterior of the revamped home, the siblings were given a tour inside of their home.
“It’s a whole new place,” Victoria said. “The fact that you guys have done this, it’s still so surreal.”
And that’s when the flood gates opened on the tears, she said, impressed with the bright and airy new living room, elated with the revamped kitchen that no longer had a furnace in the middle of the room, and overwhelmed by the completely refurbished bathroom that replaced the previous facilities that were hazardous with mould.
“I can’t say enough about the Acts of Kindness (AOK) Society,” Victoria said, describing the entire experience as “amazing and lots of fun.”
For Victoria, it has taken a tremendous burden off her shoulders and given her and Jim peace of mind.
“In so many ways, words don’t express the amount of gratitude,” she said, describing it as health issue.
This mobile home has been in their family for about 50 years. Sadly, it was in some major need of TLC, explained Michael Dauncey, associate pastor with Church in the Valley and AOK coordinator.
Madeleine Derapp has been friends of the Newstead family since 1971 – when Victoria was only a year old.
She tried for years to help Jim and Victoria’s late mother, Linda, fix up her home. And since her passing a few years ago, she’s been trying to do the same for her kids.
She was the one who nominated the siblings for the Extreme Home Repair.
Walking through the home on Monday, with the pair, she was in tears, shock, and delight.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I wish it could have been done when their mother was still alive. It was needed, even back then… the house was so mouldy.”
Derapp knew the need was great, but didn’t have the resources herself to help the upgrade the home and make it safe.
“Ten years from now, without this assistance, this house would have falling down around them,” she explained.
She’d turned to several groups and organizations in search of help for them, but to no avail. She had all but given up, when she learned about AOK.
“I thought, I’ll give it a try. I couldn’t afford to do it, and I was at my wit’s end,” Derapp shared with the Langley Advance.
It needed what she called “an awful lot of work,” but as she followed Victoria and Jim through the house, she was overwhelmed by how much the volunteers with AOK were able to do.
“I thought of their mom the whole time I was touring through it today. She’d have been so happy,” Derapp said. They’ve breathed new life into their house, Derapp said. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Dauncey thanked Derapp for letting AOK know about this need, and hoped that after all the work that was put into it, that the Newstead family could enjoy it for another 50 years.
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