By JB Clark
TUPELO – Beth Stauffer led tours of her new home Saturday evening after volunteers spent the last two weeks working full time to gut, redesign, rebuild and add onto her family’s house in the Joyner neighborhood.
Steve Tybor, who led the project with help from his disaster recovery organization Eight Days of Hope, said it was cool to watch as every item needed to renovate the house, labor and even the meals volunteers ate over the last two weeks were all donated.
The 1,300-square-foot house now has brand-new flooring, drywall, insulation, plumbing, concrete, paint, furniture, lumber, siding, doors, windows, lights, HVAC system and a 900-square-foot addition.
“Everything is new except for the bones,” Tybor said. “And it was all donated.”
Stauffer commented on the light green, blue and grey used to paint the new house as she led volunteers and neighbors through the finished home.
“It’s very serene,” she said. “I wanted something very calming. I’m going to need that and the whole house has a calming effect.”
Tybor said they wanted to remodel the home so Stauffer and her children have one less thing to worry about as they recover from the death of husband and father Sgt. Gale Stauffer, who was shot and killed responding to a bank robbery on South Gloster Street Dec. 23. He said he wanted to see the children have room to grow and make sure Stauffer had no home improvement or repair worries going forward.
“I’m set for a long time and if anything happens it will be minor because there is nothing second-rate, it’s all top of the line,” Stauffer said. “It’s bittersweet. I’m sad to see all these people leave but I’m excited because I’ve got an awesome house. It’s amazing and it’s full of love and ready to make new memories.”
At the home dedication, children of some of the volunteers sold off two birdhouses made from the scraps from Stauffer’s old home, something they had been doing throughout the renovation process. Two of the children presented Stauffer with the proceeds – nearly $700.
More than 150 volunteers from Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi helped remodel the home as well as assist Stauffer’s neighbors with handy work.
The project came to a close Saturday with a neighborhood carnival on Woodlawn Avenue.
As the Stauffers move back into their home, a team of volunteers will remove trees and renovate their backyard.
Tybor said volunteers also have supported the family of Officer Joseph Maher in the way of tree removal, gutters, electrical work and landscaping. Maher was critically shot while responding to the same bank robbery.