Cape Breton woman overwhelmed by community effort to save home
GLACE BAY, N.S. – A Cape Breton woman who has been the talk of her town is feeling happy and overwhelmed after people in her community came together to save her home.
Jeanette MacDonald, 70, has lived in her home in Glace Bay, N.S., for 35 years, and the property is showing show its age.
She has been using a blue tarp to cover the holes in her roof -- but it doesn’t do much to keep the water out on rainy days -- and local roofer Jeremy Locke took notice.
He offered to repair MacDonald’s roof for free, but, to his surprise, she declined, saying she was waiting for a grant to come through.
But the money never came, and as the weeks passed, Locke knew something had to be done, so he started a raffle, which MacDonald agreed to be in.
Little did she know, she was the only entry.
“My grandparents didn’t have a whole lot and struggled to bring up their own children, and had to help out with their grandchildren, so it just kind of hit home that way,” says Locke.
When word spread, dozens of volunteers stepped up to help Locke and his crew fix MacDonald’s roof. Several companies also offered assistance -- some as far away as the United States.
After three days of intense labour, MacDonald has a new roof, heat pump, and chimney.
She also has a new appreciation for the people in her community.
“It’s awesome the way they’re coming together to help me. I really appreciate it,” she says.
But, she also says that while she’s thankful, she doesn’t need any more help.
“I don’t like all this attention. I just want to get done what I had to get done and that’s it,” she says.
“There’s other people out there that need it too, and I hope they go to them too.”
Through the experience, a friendship has been forged between Locke and MacDonald. She cooked a meal of lasagna and garlic toast to thank him for his efforts and they sat down together for dinner Wednesday evening.
“It was wonderful. I enjoyed it here last night,” says MacDonald. "We will stay in touch. I’ll never forget him.”