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SANDY — At the Boyle family home in Sandy they have a motto, a phrase that guides Jeremy and Amelia and their six children.
“Amelia says if you have something good, share it,” neighbor Emilie Wright said. “That’s just the hallmark of her life, and so we have something good, and we want to share that with her.”
Over the last year, finding that good has been a challenge. Jeremy Boyle, 44, a marriage and family therapist, was diagnosed with a rare and terminal neurodegenerative condition called multiple system atrophy, and his body is shutting down.
“It’s difficult for him to get up and down the stairs, to function like he used to, he’s really active and handy and he’s not able to do that as well as he used to without a lot of pain,” Wright said.
Praying for guidance on how to help the family through the difficult months ahead, Wright said she received an answer in an email from Will Whitaker, CEO of Revere Home Loans and Revere Custom Homes.
“One day he sent out an email asking for submissions for people who might be in need of a home renovation,” Wright said. “As a neighborhood, we’ve been praying for a way to help, and working with Will to do this renovation is an answer to those prayers.”
“When I received the story, the submission, it was really touching,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker said he was instantly touched by the family motto and felt his company’s next community give-back project needed to be focused on the Boyles.
“I want them to just be able to focus on experiences, on each other, for the time Jeremy has left,” Whitaker said. “And if home repair or anything related to the home is a burden that she (Amelia) doesn’t have to think about, she knows that for years to come she doesn’t have to do anything so they can just enjoy the time they have and maximize those experiences, that’s what I would want for them.”
Wanting the renovation to be a surprise and knowing Jeremy and Amelia Boyle would be taking a cruise to Alaska the first week of May, Whitaker and Revere Home Loan vice president of partner relations Shayne Nelson spent months working on putting the pieces into place, contacting local companies for donations and asking contractors to donate their skills. Meanwhile, Wright began secretly rallying the neighborhood.
“We’re neighbors and live a couple doors down, we love them and are thrilled to help them,” Kari Bennett said.
As the Boyles headed off to Alaska for what could possibly be the couple’s final trip together before Jeremy Boyle is too weak to travel, dozens of neighbors gathered at their home on the morning of May 6 to kick off the surprise renovation. Whitaker and Wright excitedly relayed instructions on how to pack each room and the trailers the box would go into.
“Each room is a color and a number!” Wright shouted.
It didn’t take long before dozens of friends, neighbors and even strangers had packed the entire house and demolition was underway.
“This is what we do, isn’t it?” one neighbor said as she fought back tears while filling boxes full of Jeremy Boyle’s books. “They’ve done all they can do and now they need the help of friends and neighbors and loved ones.”
Over the course of nine days, Whitaker and his team of volunteers spent day and night repairing, updating and transforming the Boyles’ home.
“We gutted the entire inside, we redid all the flooring, redid all paint on the walls, bathrooms, all the décor,” said Whitaker. “We also repainted the exterior of the home and updated the front yard landscaping.”
Then on Saturday, the final touches were put in place. Family photos were put back on newly painted shelves, dishes were placed in the new kitchen cabinets, and new bedspreads were gently placed on all the children’s beds.
“For me, this has felt like sacred ground, the feeling and the spirit that has been here all week long has been special,” Whitaker said.
For me, this has felt like sacred ground, the feeling and the spirit that has been here all week long has been special.
–Will Whitaker, CEO of Revere Home Loans and Revere Custom Homes
When the Boyles returned home late Saturday night, they pulled up to a newly painted house lit up by spotlights and dozens of excited neighbors and volunteers standing in their driveway wearing Revere Home Makeover T-shirts with the motto “If you have something good, share it.”
“What, what? No way you kept this a secret,” Amelia Boyle said as she hugged her children with tears. “This is unbelievable, this is our house!”
While the family tried to process what was happening, Whitaker quickly shared a message of love from their community and explained the renovation of their house that had taken place over the past week. Both Amelia and Jeremy Boyle burst into tears.
“Just a ton of gratitude, I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say,” Jeremy Boyle said. “We have amazing neighbors, amazing friends, I don’t know what to say.”
As the couple and their children were guided inside, they were overcome by emotion at the sight of their newly renovated house.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” cried Jeremy Boyle.
“I feel so cared about, I feel like all our neighbors, friends, church members, we have felt so enveloped in love by them, and I can’t believe it,” cried Amelia Boyle. “We have felt so loved and taken care of.”
No longer needing to spend time making repairs on the home, Amelia and Jeremy Boyle can now focus the time he has left with their family.
“I can’t believe this, this has been so hard to do this alone,” Amelia Boyle said, through sobs. “There was so much I couldn’t fix on my own.”
“I feel elated that we could do this,” Wright said. “Just one small way we can lift a load.”
“We can never show our deepest gratitude, we are so thankful,” Amelia Boyle said.
Fundraising efforts will continue for the Boyle family as Jeremy’s cognitive and physical abilities diminish due to multiple system atrophy.
The following businesses made the Boyle home makeover possible: Revere Home Makeover, Cactus & Tropicals, PPC, Glover Nursery, Flooring Solutions, The Home Depot, AMSCO Windows, Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash, Smith’s, Hale Centre Theatre, Spavia, Lowe’s, Pappa John’s Pizza, J. Dawgs – Midvale, Dunford, Impact Ninja Gym, Firehouse Subs – Sandy, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Crave – Sandy.