By Mary Pritchard, Contributing Writer
Grafton – What began as a leaking roof in need of repair would lead to a journey that nearly landed a Grafton family in homelessness. Mike and Amy Randell had dreamed of adding on to their home, where Amy grew up. They wanted to remain in the residence as their own family grew. When they discovered the roof needed to be replaced, they decided it made sense to renovate at the same time.
“This addition project started two years ago with the permit process taking eight months,” Amy said. “After that long ordeal, we were finally able to break ground in September of 2010. This was a happy time for us as our four-year-old daughter was just finishing two years of chemotherapy treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We were heading to Disney for her Make-a-Wish trip and were breaking ground on an addition that we had dreamed and talked about for years.”
Permits were issued, work began, and the Randells expected to be enjoying their expanded home in about four months.
“We thought we were about to realize a dream, but it turned very bad, very quickly,” Mike said. “The contractor we worked with was extremely unprofessional and negligent with his work. After eight long months of construction, he walked off the job leaving it incomplete and with many cosmetic issues. We called in another contractor for a quote to fix the cosmetic issues and he pointed out so much more than just cosmetic problems. He told us that the entire structure was done wrong.”
Structural engineers confirmed the second contractor's findings.
“Needless to say, we were devastated,” Amy said. “After revealing this information to the town building inspector, he informed us that he would have no choice but to condemn our home if the issues were not rectified by the first snowfall.”
Referring to the torturous two years of Katie's illness and the renovation problems, Amy added, “In addition to our emotional and financial devastation, we were soon to be homeless.”
The couple researched legal, insurance, and other avenues only to discover that at every turn, there was an obstacle preventing them from resolving the issues and having any recourse. They were in a state of absolute hopelessness until Vice President of Mackinac Savings Bank Dave Frechette, the lender for the project, connected the Randells with the family that would save their home and give them a gift beyond measure.
Charbel and Christine Najem, who own and operate Capstone General Contracting of Worcester and Northborough, came to the rescue.
“We wanted to give the Randell family their house back,” Charbel said. “After our first visit to the house, it was evident that the structure was not safe. We engaged the services of a local engineer and came up with an attack plan to correct the structural code violations given by the building inspector.”
Dom Nelson, the project manager, and a crew of twelve, completed the extensive work within a week. All materials for the renovation were donated by Nelson's firm, and subcontractors discounted their rates to help.
Mike and Amy are overwhelmed with gratitude.
“It's hard to describe how we feel about this, other than divine intervention,” Amy said. “We were in a place of complete despair and Capstone, through their incredible generosity, helped us out of this mess. We cannot even put into words how thankful we feel for them. In our eyes, it wasn’t just a construction project; they truly gave us our lives back. The relief that we feel has given us such a sense of peace. It is such a blessing to have this gift right before the holidays. We are truly grateful to the Capstone team for all that they have done for us.”