Victoria Newstead and her brother Jim got to see the results of this year’s Extreme Home Repair (EHR) Monday afternoon.
As friends and neighbours cheered and chanted “move that bus” a church bus pulled away to reveal the changes made to the aging Brookswood manufactured home the two grew up in, which was redone inside and out over a two-week period.
“Oh my gosh,” she said.
Newstead called the experience “surreal.”
“We knew that we just weren’t going to get to this for years and years and years, and it was going to get worse and worse,” she said.
“It was on my mind 24/7.”
The work on the house included bathroom renovations, new flooring, renovating the deck, fixing mould issues and installing new windows.
It was the 14th year for EHR, a non-profit outreach organization run by Church in the Valley’s “Acts of Kindness” team (AOK).
Established in 2004, the Extreme Home Repair project brings together over 200 volunteers, dozens of community-minded businesses, friends, family, and neighbours to renovate the home of a local individual or family, to give the selected recipients a fresh start in a safe and comfortable environment.
Both of the siblings’ parents are gone — their father died 15 years ago in a dirt biking accident in the Baja Peninsula, and their mother passed away two years ago.
Newstead and her brother can thank her mother’s best friend enough, Madeleine Derappe, for nominating them for the 2017 EHR project.
“We still see her a couple times a week,” Newstead said. “She keeps tabs on us pretty good.”
When she found out they had been chosen, Newstead was shocked. “I literally read the message out loud on my phone and I said, ‘Oh my God, Madeleine has connected us with the church and they want to repair the house and my brother said, ‘No way.’”
On top of having a home makeover, Victoria was given a beauty makeover.
Local realtor Diane Sparks-Cassidy has once again joined forces with the Mark Anthony Academy of Cosmetology to continue a Langley tradition.
Each year, Sparks-Cassidy funds a makeover for Acts of Kindness Extreme Home Repair recipient, who is pampered at the Langley cosmetology school.
This year, Victoria received the royal treatment at the school — at no charge. Newstead received a full body massage, which she described as a “full hour of pure bliss,” as well as facial, manicure, and a pedicure.
— with files from Troy Landreville