At a glance: What: New Beginnings, widow/widower support group Who: Tony Cortani, God's Widow Helpers, speaker Where: Paradise Restaurant, 703 N. Sequim Ave., Sequim When: 11:30 a.m. today, April 21, and third Wednesday of each month How much: $12 includes meal, chance for door prize For more information: Call 683-5242.
Tony Cortani's generous gesture might lead to something much bigger than he anticipated.
Owner of Tim's Cabinets, he created God's Widow Helpers to help single seniors with small projects in their homes.
Cortani created the group after he and a rotating crew worked five months remodeling Sequim resident Dottie Haidal's bathroom, bedroom and closet. Haidal has Lou Gehrig's disease.
After recruiting friends from a weekly men's group, Cortani and company began work in November 2009.
Volunteer Tom Saffold said their efforts weren't for the organization but to help Haidal.
Build better bathroom
Cortani said Haidal couldn't access her bathroom easily with her wheelchair.
"It was time sensitive for us to get done because of the level of need for her illness," he said.
Haidal's home now features: • Completely remodeled bathroom • Widened doorway for walk-in closet • New toilet, tile and carpet
"We didn't get things donated and just stick them in there," Cortani said.
"We spent hours looking into colors and getting it right. It looks great."
Saffold said Haidal was overflowing with appreciation.
"She's lost her ability to speak," Cortani said, "but you could tell she was elated."
Cortani is trying to make God's Widow Helpers' efforts work for everyone.
"If a widow can afford a project, then we'll just charge for materials," he said.
"If they can't afford it, hopefully funds will be in place to help."
His goal is for vendors to not feel pinched by the program's needs.
"We want them to help out by providing it at cost," Cortani said.
"We only want volunteers to give their time."
Cortani is seeking:
• Skilled laborers • Money donations • Miscellaneous help with clean-up, food, etc. • Yard workers
His goal is that a worker could come to a project for one Saturday and one weekday evening and be done.
Cortani feels his program could grow to a larger scale.
The group plans to simplify projects so that they aren't as time intensive as Haidal's home.
Projects could focus on improving mobility, accessibility and repair.
God's Widow Helpers is in the process of receiving nonprofit status, Cortani said,
He plans to create a board of directors to oversee fundraising and projects.
Their next project is building a ramp for an 80-year-old amputee.
To be considered for aid from God's Widow Helpers, you must be: • A widow or widower • Have an infrastructure need in the home
To suggest a project or learn more, contact Cortani at 460-1472 or 683-7648
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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