It's Christmas come early for Benny Covington, 67, of Davidson.
Covington, a disabled retiree, has been living in a home that is quite literally falling down around him.
Built in 1916, the home's electrical system is on its last legs, and the plumbing system is so poor that Covington has been using a Porta John, supplied by the town of Davidson.
But Jim Burbank and his crew at homebuilding firm Saussy Burbank are putting an end to Covington's home woes. They have been doing a complimentary home makeover, estimated to be worth $35,000, for Covington.
Donating time and materials, Saussy Burbank is in the process of overhauling the older home so that Covington can live more comfortably and remain in the community where he grew up.
Work started in November
The repairs, which began on Nov. 9, are expected to last a few weeks.
In the mean time, Covington is staying with family until his home is ready.
Jennie Davidson, Covington's sister who has power of attorney, is very thankful to Saussy Burbank for its help.
"Oh, you don't know how ecstatic I was that they would do his house," she said.
Covington does not talk on the phone, but Davidson said he is very enthusiastic and appreciative for all the work Saussy Burbank is doing to fix his home.
She said the home makeover has "done so much" for her brother's morale, and he "talks about it [the home repairs] every day."
The home repair was coordinated through the Davidson Housing Coalition (DHC) and Hands Around Mecklenburg/Mooresville Making Emergency Repairs Safely (HAMMERS).
DHC Executive Director Marcia Webster said situations like Covington's unfortunately are quite common.
Repairs impact elderly
"One of the things we see so much is adults who were able to maintain their homes...they've worked hard all their lives," she said. And now "the money is not there."
Many older citizens like Covington, a retired sweeper, have to make the choice between home repairs and food and medicine, said Webster.
DHC and HAMMERS have a $5,000 cap on home repairs, and because Covington's home repairs were so much greater in cost, Jim Burbank's offer to help was a prayer answered.
"It's overwhelming to see this kind of generosity," Webster said.
Team effort praised
And, Burbank, she said, "doesn't want a lot of glory...he's never ever been in it for 'look at me.'"
Burbank doesn't even have builder signs in front of Covington's home, said Webster.
In fact, Burbank, in his trademark humble fashion, is quick to give everyone else credit for the makeover.
"Our subcontractors and suppliers have really come through" in getting reduced prices or materials for free, said Burbank. He also credits DHC and HAMMERS for its work.
"Really, the coalition is the hero for identifying the situation," Burbank said.
Covington and his family are thankful to all the folks, many of whom toiled behind the scenes, to make his home makeover a reality.
Because of them, Covington will be home for Christmas.