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‘Sanctuary’ in Langley

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By Roxanne Hooper / Langley Advance

Carol Oldford’s deteriorating physical abilities in the past two years, compounded with the fact that her home is literally sinking, means she no longer has the strength necessary to open her front door.

The arrival of a 10-person team of workers on her very sloped stoop this weekend was a blessing that Oldford hopes can restore some of her mobility and consequently her independence.

“I think it’s fantastic… just fantastic,” she said, watching from inside as workers began to rip apart her slanted deck and rotting trailer skirt early Sunday morning – all in an effort to reveal and assess the problem.

“This is such a huge burden off me… they have no idea,” she said, near tears several times as the widow felt the trailer shaking under the vibration of the work.
The 71-year-old Langley woman moved into the mobile home park at 232nd Street and Fraser Highway 12 years ago and proceeded to build a breathtaking garden around her large lot on the park’s perimeter.

She called it her sanctuary, a place where she could go and unwind, where she could admire all the beautiful plants and watch and listen to the birds.

But as it stands now, she’s unable to safely manoeuvre onto her deck, let alone down the steps into the garden – at least not without some major assistance.

So Oldford admits she tends not to venture out much.

Living on a pension, she said she’s been struggling to figure out how to get the necessary repairs done, pointing up to a giant problem with her water-damaged living room ceiling. The linking is the cause of her trailer sinking.

Learning of Oldford’s plight, members of the Aldergrove Seventh Day Adventist church’s Acts of Kindness team came to her aid.

They’re performing what project leader Pastor Michael Dauncey describes as a mini Extreme Home Repair (EHR).

Each year, the AOK team selects at least one deserving and very needy family in Langley (often Aldergrove) to receive an EHR that typically takes hundreds of volunteers 15-plus days and thousands of dollars worth of donated materials to complete. But this year, instead of one massive project, they’ve chosen to take on two slightly smaller projects.

The first is Oldford’s home.

A small team arrived Sunday to access the damage, develop a plan of attack, and begin some of the demolition.

Over the course of the next eight days or so, they hope to level and stabilize the 1972 double-wide trailer, then go about resurfacing the deck, repairing the roof, and fixing the floors that were damaged by the shifting and sinking of the ground below.

As well, Dauncey said, there are a few other projects in the works, including upgrading the electrical and doing a few other minor repairs.

“It’s a big relief. The stress level went down a great deal,” when she received a call from Dauncey a few weeks back announcing they’d been picked as an AOK recipient.

“I phoned everyone I knew,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Oldford’s mobility started going downhill about two years ago, when she suffered a herniated belly button and required surgery. Since then, she has lost all her strength and subsequently some of her mobility. Her instability when walking has been amplified by the problems with her home. But she wants so much to stay where she is, and credits AOK for making that possible.

“Already, I can see the appreciation in their faces,” Dauncey said, of both Oldford and her daughter Connie.

A slightly bigger AOK repair project is still coming for next month, running from May 2 to 19 (with the reveal on Victoria Day, as usual), for an Aldergrove grandmother and her grandson, Dauncey explained.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more details on this current mini extreme home repair, as well as the new project.

© Langley Advance

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