MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Scott Thomas has lived in a home on West Simpson Street for 10 years. When he moved to Florida recently, he knew he’d have to sell it.
Mother Nature had other plans.
“They called us and said, ‘hey, there’s some icicles hanging on the outside of the house and there’s some water where it really shouldn’t be,’ ” Thomas said.
This winter’s extreme cold caused lots of problems, which led to lots of damage.
“We had the neighbor come in and he could tell, he could hear the water gushing immediately,” Thomas said. “He went into the basement and said there was a good 2-3 inches of water standing on the basement floor.”
A broken pipe under the kitchen sink is to blame. In a normal three-week span, the Thomases would have used about 5,000 gallons of water, but when the pipe burst they received a bill for 42,000 gallons.
“I’m bawling, I’m crying, I’m asking God why,” Thomas’s wife Peggy said.
The Thomases knew they couldn’t sell the house like this. It needed thousands of dollars of repairs. It was money they didn’t have. After struggling over what to do, they made a decision not to sell.
“The idea was born that we could take the house, renovate it and make it as good as new, then donate it to someone who has done so much for the freedoms we enjoy,” Thomas said.
The Thomases are giving their house to a veteran for free.
But first, they have to make those repairs.
“It was about seven degrees when I came inside,” said Brian McVitty, president of Angel Home Solutions. “I noticed the radiators were split wide open and I knew he was going to have a problem come warmer weather because I knew he wasn’t going to be able to run hot water throughout the house.”
McVitty heard about what the Thomases were doing. He’s a contractor and president of Angel Home Solutions. He jumped at the chance to help.
“Being a veteran myself, I said, ‘hey, we really need to be a part of this.’ This is huge. It’s huge for the area, it’s huge for them, and it’s huge for us because it’s something we can do to give back,” he said.
“My blessings aren’t for me to keep. My blessings that I have received are for me to give away, to make someone else’s life better,” Peggy Thomas said.
The Thomases call this the American Hero Homestead Project. They’re asking the community for any help they can give, whether it be money, supplies, or time.
“When you look at a house with this much history, and as big as this house is, it could be phenomenal for someone,” McVitty said.
“You’re not doing the favor for me at all, you’re doing it for them,” Peggy Thomas said. “Every American owes their lives to the vets and our heroes.”
The house needs a lot of work including new radiators, plumbing, windows, and paint. There’s a Gofundme site for donations. The goal is to raise $250,000 dollars. They hope to make the repairs over the summer, so they can donate the house sometime this fall.
The Thomases have insurance, but it will not pay for any of the damage because it was weather-related and the house was vacant.
If you would like to donate, go to http://www.gofundme.com/herohomestead