An Isanti family was in for quite a surprise one afternoon when a knock came at their door.
Servpro owner Teri Recht had come to inform the Merrills they had been chosen as a winner in Servpro’s Mini Home Makeover giveaway.
“It’s meant the world,” David Merrill said.
For the Merrills, Servpro staff painted multiple rooms, hallways, ceilings, cleaned all carpets, cleaned all the furniture, insulated portions of the home and completed minor repairs.
To apply for the giveaway, Servpro was looking for a family either physically of financially in need. In the Merrills’ case, it’s both.
David and Denise’s youngest daughter, 19-year-old Shelbie, has severe scoliosis.
“She was getting so bad that she was tipping and falling over,” Denise said. “She would have probably been in a wheelchair by the time she was 25 or 30, so she had major spine surgery.”
Shelbie has undergone three major spine surgeries to try to straighten her back. She’s had five fusions, which is when rods, hooks, wires or screws are attached to the curved part of the backbone to straighten the spine. However, Shelbie’s body hasn’t accepted the hardware.
“They had to remove the hardware, and she ended up fracturing one of the vertebrae on one of her tumbles down the steps,” Denise said.
She had another fusion done in 2012, but once again, her body rejected the hardware.
“She’s in horrific pain almost daily,” Denise said. Shelbie is scheduled to have another surgery this month to remove the hardware.
Despite the pain, Shelbie remains upbeat. She represented the city of Isanti as an ambassador in 2011 to 2012.
“During her reign, she had two of her surgeries,” Denise said. “But she still drove forward and was able to represent Isanti in a great way.”
She also made up two years of high school in one year because she had missed so many days. At the end, teachers asked Shelbie to speak at graduation.
David, the owner of the household, has a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He is hooked up to oxygen tanks 24 hours a day.
“I’m pretty much homebound and I can’t do a whole lot,” he said. “I used to be quite active.”
David has had the disease for 10 years, and he’s been on the lung transplant list for the past three.
“That was one of the reasons (Servpro owner) Teri really wanted to help you guys,” Servpro’s Sara Miller said. “Because of your condition and knowing you can’t do a lot.”
David’s condition has taken its toll financially and physically on keeping up with household projects and maintaining the 100-year-old house. He tires easily and has difficulty walking up and down stairs.
“It’s really hard for him on a daily basis to see everything that needs to be done that he hasn’t been able to do,” Denise said.
Along with the projects around the house, each member of the family received Christmas a gift.
While Denise and Shelbie were unloading groceries one day, they saw a gift had been dropped off for Shelbie: a brand new microwave.
With her condition, Shelbie has fallen down the stairs during the night while she goes to the kitchen to microwave her heat pad for pain management.
With her own microwave in her bedroom upstairs, she no longer has to risk the stairway to heat up the pad.
“When she saw it, the groceries went flying and she made a beeline for the box, and up the stairs she went and she got it all set up,” Denise said.
Denise had asked Servpro staff if they knew of anyone that was getting rid of a used microwave. Instead of finding a used microwave, they bought a new one for Shelbie.
Denise got an open heart necklace, and David got a gift card for Gander Mountain.
“It was really unexpected but so appreciated,” Denise said. “As if the painting and all that cleanup wasn’t enough.”
David said he wishes he could be with Servpro staff during the painting and cleaning projects and he appreciates what they’ve done.
For Denise, the home makeover has improved her mood and outlook.
“I used to be a clean freak, but when stuff started really going downhill, it was really hard to keep up,” she said.
She said she had felt frustrated and defeated before the Servpro home makeover because she felt she was alone in maintaining the house, Denise said.
“It really has brought my spirits up when I think about the house,” she said. “Being able to come home and sit and enjoy a clean home is just amazing… We’re eternally grateful. We are so blessed. It came at a perfect time.”
Located out of Harris, Minn., Servpro provides fire and water restoration and professional cleaning services.
SERVPRO of North Washington, Chisago & Pine Counties has an enduring history of building relationships and giving back to the communities it serves through ongoing involvement and sponsorships. We believe in investing in events and programs that provide a direct benefit to those in need.
Servpro would like to thank the following vendors: MGT Remodeling and Insulation, and Terry Helinsky of Ductz for their services and donations to the Servpro Mini Home Makeover. The Servpro Mini Home Makeover is a yearly giveaway. Check out sites.google.com/site/servprominihomemakeover for details. Follow updates to this story on Facebook at: SERVPRO of North Washington, Chisago & Pine Counties.
For more information, visit www.servpro.com.