A team of volunteers from the Alder-grove Seventh Day Adventist Church turned up on Cathy Dunn's doorstep on Dec. 24 morning with an early Christmas gift.
The entourage from the church's Acts of Kindness (AOK) ministry was there to announce that Dunn and her two sons - ages seven and 13 - had been selected as the recipients of the 10th annual Extreme Home Repair.
The Dunn family was picked from about 18 nominees to have their home "basically gutted," said AOK pastor Michael Dauncey.
"Every year, it's been pretty clear to us the person who is in the most need of help," he said.
This year, after weeks of reviewing and visits to five of the most-needy candidates, the Dunn family was picked.
The home at 26579 30A Ave. is in such disrepair that, in fact, the family is living on bare plywood floors and is in desperate need of a new roof.
"We think we might have to gut it right down to the 2X4s," Dauncey said, describing it as one of their more extensive jobs. "We're going to be redoing everything, including the electrical, right from scratch."
The local makeovers are 10-day projects organized for every May and undertaken by a team of church and community volunteers.
The recipient family is asked to leave the home for the duration of the project, and brought back for a special reveal - much as Ty Pennington does on the television show Extreme Home Makeover.
This year's makeover starts May 9, with the finished product being revealed on May 20.
Given that this is the 10th anniversary of the Acts of Kindness program, Dauncey said it would be cool to have the likes of Pennington or philanthropist Oprah Winfrey be part of the finale, but he's still working on that.
"It's shooting for the stars," Dauncey said, but he's going to try.
During the past few years, the AOK team has - just by luck of the draw and based on need - renovated Aldergrove homes.
"We're going to change Aldergrove, one house at a time. it's kind of rewarding to know we're making such a difference," said Dauncey.
Prior to the Christmas Eve visit, Dunn had been notified - along with a handful of other people - that she'd been nominated. But she didn't know she'd been picked as the 2013 recipient.
The AOK team arrived under the pretext of doing a follow-up visit and to introduce AOK pastor Dauncey, who had been out of town during the nominee reviews.
Much to Dunn's surprise, it was more than a meet and greet.