Unforgettable gift spurs Aldergrove mom to pay it forward

Cathy Dunn will never forget what Extreme Home Repair volunteers did for her, and her two boys Ian, 16, and Jamie, 10.

In May 2013, the Dunn family moved out of their home for 15 days, allowing more than 200 volunteers to renovate their now 32-year-old, three-bedroom rancher that had suffered significant water damage and was in need of a new roof.

The work on the home was extensive: much of the siding was removed, as the original siding had suffered rot and mold, mostly caused from rain over the years. Poly insulation was installed, and workers had ripped off most of the roof.

A new roof was built, and drywall installation was installed.

Before the work was done by the army of helpers from the Aldergrove Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Acts of Kindness program, Dunn feared she would have to sell the house because she couldn’t afford all of the repairs that were needed.

Nearly two years later, Dunn said her life changed in a “huge” way.

“Financially, it saved us a lot in the sense of the heating costs, which went to a quarter of what I used to pay, and electricity, where I pay a third of what I used to pay,” Dunn said.

But this is more, much more, than about simple finances for Cathy and her sons – it’s also about pride and happiness.

When she found out the EHR team was going to come by and take a look at her home, Dunn wasn’t sure if she would let them in.

“Nobody sees my home!” she said.

Today, Cathy and her sons are still pinching themselves.

“We would stop in hallway and look at each other and grin, and continue walking again,” Dunn said. “We were very overwhelmed. Even now, two years since it happened, I still pull into my driveway and sit in my car and think, ‘Oh my good goodness, I have such a blessed life.’”

Not much has changed in the home since the work was done, only a few personal things, Dunn added.

Last May, Dunn paid it forward by helping out the EHR team at the Tapper home, and she’s planning on doing the same sort of volunteer work this year.

“They know they can call on me for anything and I’ll be there,” Dunn said. “We’re lifers!”

She’s a huge believer in the EHR program.

“To me it was, just the whole time I was in there [volunteering at the home of Pat and Chase Tapper], how much it was going to change them and how positive this was to us,” Dunn said. “To bring the same positively to another family is so rewarding.”

Dunn said she also “pitches” the cause to any businesses she visits.

“It’s such a worthy program,” she said.

It wasn’t just house repairs, either, in Dunn’s case. She had bought an older model SUV around the time of the EHR renos, and a large rock from a dump truck smashed the vehicle’s windshield.

EHR volunteers arranged with Aldergrove A-1 Glass Ltd to fix the windshield at no charge to Dunn.

Langley Advance