The Purnell family of Cape Breton: Caroline, Aonghas, Rosalyn, Lachlann and Eoghann.

homeowner experience

From hopeless to hopeful in Cape Breton

“As I sit here composing this e-mail, I am asking God to give me the words to adequately express our gratitude for all the help that your organization has provided. What you have done to help is so big, we do not have words available.” That’s how Caroline Purnell of Cape Breton began her note to MDS for the help her daughter, Rosalyn, had received fixing up her house after Hurricane Fiona. The past few years had been challenging for Rosalyn, who lives in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Money for the nurse and single mother of four boys was always in short supply. Then came the hurricane—“the final straw,” as Caroline, put it, damaging the roof and causing rain to leak in every time a new storm came along. For Rosalyn, who couldn’t afford to fix it, the situation seemed hopeless. Things worsened when her insurance company gave her

a deadline of the end of April to fix the roof or they would cancel her homeowner’s policy. After she got that letter, Caroline found her daughter “sitting on the floor crying. She thought she should just give up her job and kids and go on welfare. She thought her children would be better off in care with some stability. If she lost the house, she didn’t know how she would look after them.” That’s when they reached out to MDS. Roman Heuft, MDS’s Cape Breton Response Coordinator, readily agreed to provide Rosalyn with a new metal roof, along with fixing some damaged windows and porch railings. When Caroline and Rosalyn received that news, everything changed. “When you said you would do the repairs, not only were you helping someone with a leaking roof, you were changing the outcome of an entire family’s life,” Caroline said. “I have seen my daughter go from hopelessness and despair to gratitude and hopefulness for her future.” For Caroline, what MDS did “was a miraculous answer to prayer and a source of encouragement to everyone who hears how you answered God’s call. Please thank everyone who has been involved in this process, let them know how grateful we are.” — John Longhurst

10 behind the hammer

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