CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) – A Chesterfield homeowner is relieved and even more grateful that she still lives in her home for over 30 years.
For 33 years, Valerie DeVito lived in her Bland Mere home. In early 2022, her neighbor wrote to ask for help with the heavy cleaning, painting and carpentry work her home needed.
“She was like the backbone of the neighborhood. Everyone knew her,” says Frank Ludwick. “She used to have our dog until her knee hurt. She used to take care of the kids. She made a really good tuna casserole.”
Daily life has been complicated in recent years when she broke both knees in a fall. The neighbors of Val have been doing their best to maintain their home, but the repairs are beyond their means. She also received a violation notice from the Blandmere Community Association.
“We were looking for a licensed professional contractor to repair or repaint her house at low or no cost,” Melissa Holly explained. “Val was the first person who introduced herself to me and the first thing she said was It was, ‘Let me know if you need anything from the store.’”
Val first discovered that her neighbor had contacted 12 On Your Side when she read the letters sent to On Your Side Investigators.
In one of the letters, Patti Day-Terry describes how Val saved the life of her husband Mark. When Val didn’t see Mark outside for a few days, she started to worry. Val teamed up with another neighbor to gain access to the home because no one had the keys. The young man broke into the house through an attic vent. He sneaks into the house looking for Mark. Mark suffered a stroke a few days ago and collapsed in a chair. Patty was already in the hospital at the time. Thankfully, he was able to get help. Patty wrote:
“Miraculously, Mark survived. He was in a wheelchair, but thanks to Val, he was alive. When I got home from the hospital, Val came to my door with a hot meal. That’s what she was! “
“I’m humbled. It’s kind of embarrassing to me that people would take the time and effort to help a disabled elderly lady,” Val said.
After her story first aired in May 2022, local businesses began reaching out, willing to do the work. Val’s neighbors have also launched an online fundraiser to help pay for any work that needs to be done.
89 Paint was one of the first companies to contact 12 On Your Side. The business is owned by a husband and wife who grew up in the Brandermill community.
“We saw a need in one of our neighbors. We wanted to step in and provide support in any way we could,” explained 89 Paint owner Ethan Wirt.
Ethan and Susanne Wirt are back in the Brandermill community today to support their family. The couple went out of their way to help those in their community.
“Building supplies have been a bit crazy lately, and we’ve put in a lot of effort to organize what we need,” he explained. “We basically had to rebuild the whole chimney. When you take things off, you don’t know what’s underneath. A lot of the framework had to be rebuilt, [as well as] Decoration, window decoration. We bypassed all four areas and fixed anything we found that could be a future issue”
89 paint also arranges to power wash and paint the home. The entire project took about 6 weeks.
“I love it. I’m so proud of what we’ve done and so happy to meet such a good guy who deserves it,” Susanne Wirt said.
Val was surprised by the results.
“Just came back to look at the house and they have done a fantastic job with the repairs. No more holes in my woodwork, no more buzzing bees. Paint, everything, just like moving into a new home, that’s how I feel. It’s new, and it’s great,” Val said. “My neighbors have always been great to me, very helpful and caring. I said I was lucky and I will say so.”
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