Theresa Meagher has spent most of her life helping others. So, when the time came when she needed help, the community stood in line and gave her that support.
Donors and partners of Builders Care, an organization devoted to helping families in need do some much needed renovations on their homes, have stepped up to help the Meaghers by surprising her with a renovation on her Cornwallis Parkway home.
The home has been without running water because the pipes have failed, and recently a fire in the kitchen left the house uninhabitable for a time.
But thanks to Builders Care, not only will those problems be fixed, but the Meaghers received extras they never expected.
Theresa, 50, a 24-year veteran of the army who shares her home with husband Michael, 56, a retired juvenile officer who drives buses for the Lee County School System, and their three kids, was almost at a loss for words.
"We're overwhelmed beyond my wildest dreams. I feel warm and numb," Meagher said. "I'm always the one helping people, so now I know how they feel when I come to them."
Medical issues have added to the family's challenges.
Teresa has a rare form of bone cancer. Her son, Teddy, 18, has myopathy of the lower extremities and experiences seizures.
The fire did damage to the kitchen, as well as the living and family rooms and one of the bedrooms, with smoke damage for pretty much the rest of the home, Meagher said.
Reps and partners from Builders Care showed up Friday morning to give the Meaghers the news.
Heidi Taulman, executive director of Builder Care, said the Meaghers were selected because of the degree of help they needed.
"This family has never asked for help, and when we learned their plumbing failed, they needed help," Taulman said.
Butch Pitter, Builder Care president, said it's a tough job because there are so many families that need assistance.
"We have thousands of applicants that come in every month and we take it on a worse-case scenario," Ritter said. "We have to do these one at a time, we're a non-profit, so we have to come back to our partners."
The HomeDepot Foundation, has provided a $5,000 grant through its Community Impact Grants Program, which will be used to fund kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors and other materials to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms.
Project management is being provided by the Aubuchon Team, represented by Gary Aubuchon, who said he was "humbled by how the community has come together for those in need. It's an honor to help."
Volunteers will renovate the bathrooms, complete with roll-in shower and handicap accessible fixtures, as well as provide new plumbing lines and hard-surface flooring in the living areas, kitchen and bedrooms.
The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village surprised the family with a two-bedroom suite for them to stay at during renovations, while Tails-a-Wagin Animal Hospital will care for their four dogs.
It was more than anybody could have imagined.
"I was praying every day and I'm sure the Lord was tired of hearing me," Michael said. "I had to keep it simple and ask for a good day. I still can't believe it."
The project is expected to start June 7 and take two weeks to complete.