Team Spotlight: RbA of Virginia Beach Adopts Local Family
Toward the end of 2020, RbA of Virginia Beach (Mr. Rogers Windows) heard the story of local couple Scott and Ellen Park. The Parks had been long-time active volunteers in their community--dedicating their time, energy, and resources to helping and mentoring the youth of the community. For years, the couple went above and beyond making sure that local teens had positive experiences in their lives and always had someone in their corner, encouraging them to never give up.
In 2007, following heart-valve surgery, Scott began experiencing complications and his organs began shutting down, and doctors knew that something unusual was happening. After extensive testing, he was diagnosed with Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome (CAPS), a rare disease in which the blood clots attack the body’s organs.
Scott underwent a kidney transplant to help keep the disease at bay, and was able to resume much of his normal activities for quite awhile--first and foremost among them, helping the kids in his community.
Unfortunately, a few short years later, a series of strokes caused by the blood clots attacking his brain cost Scott the use of his right arm and his ability to walk, and he needed 24/7 care, with Ellen becoming his full-time caretaker. Through it all, however, the Parks remained positive and continued to serve as a source of inspiration, despite their challenges.
It was last summer when the team from Virginia Beach got wind of the Parks' story and decided to "adopt" the family, and see if they couldn't give something back to this family that had given so much to the community. Led by Foundation Manager Jennifer Rogers, the group stepped up to take some of the burden from Ellen and Scott.
Mounting medical bills and frequent hospital stays meant routine home maintenance had to take a back seat, so that was the first thing the RbA team tackled--repairing leaking ceilings in the bathroom and dining room, helping Ellen clear out the attic, cleaning and reorganizing the upstairs of the couple's home, and arranging for an in-home care team for Scott so Ellen could take a break and travel out of state to meet her new grandbaby.
Through it all, the team says, the upbeat attitude that the Parks had was one of their main drivers. Says Assistant Processing Manager Lisa Frieman, “I loved working on the Parks project. Being able to meet Scott was very inspiring. His wonderful positive attitude reminds me that every day I need to just give thanks for the blessings I have."
Throughout last year, the group assisted the Park family with cleaning, organizing, landscaping, repairs, maintenance work, and painting. Continuing into 2022, the RbA team, along with the help of the community and local connections, has worked on additional yardwork, fresh paint jobs, and new carpets. They even drove Scott to one of his treatments when Ellen needed to attend her mother’s funeral.
And, in one final gift to the Parks, RbA of Virginia Beach replaced the windows and doors in the couple’s home--a project that allowed even more RbA team members to interact with, and be inspired by, the couple. "This job was unlike any other, as I was greeted by the most upbeat and respectful people in my career at Mr. Rogers," says Installer Eric Houk. Houk continues, "Scott is such an inspiration and a role model in a way with everything he’s gone through. He is an amazing person with such a strong team of supporters! If I learned anything from the time at their house it would be to NEVER give up, even when the times get tough!"
This RbA team assisted the Parks for over a year. The project lasted from January 2021 to June of 2022, making it the longest community project RbA of Virginia Beach has completed to date. In that time, virtually no stone was left unturned, and they truly became a part of the family. A sampling of some of the things they accomplished includes:
- Cleaned out and organized the upstairs, attic, and garage
- Deep cleaned the upstairs
- Painted the entire upstairs level and the downstairs foyer
- Had new carpet installed for the entire upstairs and the Park’s bedroom
- Fixed multiple leaks
- Repaired ceilings from leak damage
- Replaced smoke alarms throughout the house
- Landscaped and provided weekly landscape maintenance
- Provided gutter guard system
- Provided home health care for Scott
- Provided transportation for Scott to the hospital for treatment
- Installed new windows and doors
Over the course of 18 months, so many of the RbA Virginia/Mr. Rogers team had a chance to interact with the Parks--and it was truly a transformational experience for all involved.
Says Installer Nash Kahler, "When I was first told of the Park’s story, I could not wait to help. At the end of the job, it was wonderful to be able to see the smile on both of their faces. Which was unlike any smile I had ever seen while working for any other homeowner. There was something special we were all able to provide for them that I could tell they were incredibly thankful for. I saw it as a great honor and privilege, to be able to provide a service to these two incredibly strong people."
Concludes Jennifer Rogers, "To be able to help the Park family is a privilege and an honor. But more than that, we feel it is an avenue by which we can offer our team the opportunity to engage and give back to others, above and beyond what they normally could. In our experience, this is the greatest gift of all.”