Couple Gathers Neighbors to Repair Elderly Woman's Home
Anne Glancey faced fines from her New Jersey town, until strangers stepped in.
— -- A New Jersey resident's house is now as good as new, thanks to her neighbors and a group of selfless strangers she's never met.
Kristin Polhemus of Hamilton, New Jersey, told ABC News that she and her husband Adam, along with a group of 20 volunteers, repaired the residence of Anne Glancey - an elderly woman who had been unable to keep up with repairs of her home.
"Anne was, and is, extremely grateful for our dedication to her property and her soul," Kristin Polhemus said. "The project has inspired her to continue improving her home, inside and out, and it established new relationships between Anne and our neighbors."
Polhemus said she and her husband first learned of Glancey and her situation from the family who sold them their house.
Due to the state of her deteriorating home, Glancey received three violations from the town. The violations included having a deserted car in her driveway, having an overgrown lawn and having peeling and chipping paint on her house, according to Polhemus.
"These violations imposed a fine of no more than $1,000 per day, per violation. We knew we needed to help, as these fines would quickly surmount for anyone in Anne's situation," Polhemus said. "In life, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. We wanted to help her out of an act of love."
Over the course of six days, the Polhemuses, members of their church, neighbors, and friends worked on Glancey's home free of charge. The volunteers also paid for their own supplies.
"One of our neighbors shored up the foundation and flooring while others performed structural repair to the side porch," Polhemus said. "We removed, scraped, primed and painted shutters; and we scraped, primed, and painted the exterior of the home. We helped Anne donate her car and we did landscaping to bring her lawn back to its original beauty."
Polhemus' husband Adam, who's a detective in the town, confirmed to ABC News that local officials had dismissed all fines against Glancey.
"I can say with certainty that none of us wanted any recognition for this project," she added. "We do hope that everyone reading this will take a look at their own neighborhoods with a new set of eyes. What needs fixing? Who needs a friend or companion? How can you help? Your neighbors are just family members you don't know that well yet, and the relationship starts with you. I can't promise it will be easy, but I can promise it will be worth it."
Anne Glancey told ABC News that she greatly appreciates what her neighbors have done for her.
"I'm very grateful for their concern and their help and I tried to be as helpful as I could be when the workers came," she said. "I think they have a sense of generosity in reaching out to other people and that's worth noting. It's something that should be contagious. I hope to live in [my home] happily."