Home for the Holidays
Renewal by Andersen of Detroit joins in community effort to help local man keep his home a safe haven
In the center of Clarkston, Michigan (40 minutes north of Detroit), a small town with a big heart, a community rallied around Christian Chambers, a 50-year-old man with cerebral palsy facing the threat of losing his lifelong home. Despite being nonverbal, Chambers has become a cherished local figure. Described as bright and energetic, he has been named an honorary coach for the high school football team and earned the title of “mayor” from his walks down the streets and friendly exchanges with neighbors.
“Christian has been blessed with the kindest heart,” says his sister-in-law, Jennifer Chambers.
The community decided to repay the goodwill spread by Christian, turning what could have been a devastating event into a story of resilience and compassion. Thanks to the generous donation of windows and doors from Renewal by Andersen of Detroit, the Clarkston community has been able to turn his home into a safe haven.
The Uphill Battle
Reflecting on the challenging journey that brought them to this point, Jennifer explains, “Christian has called this house home since birth.” A year ago, the family faced the grim possibility of losing the home after Christian’s father passed away and his mother ended up in a nursing home. An opportunistic attorney tried to sell the house out from under Chambers, creating a dire situation. The story garnered the attention of local news outlets and the community as a whole, which inspired people and organizations to step in to help.
On top of a challenging legal battle, the home needed significant repairs to make it a safe and livable place for Chambers. Thanks to the intervention of the community, a settlement was reached, allowing him to retain his home. However, transforming the house into a comfortable and livable space remained a difficult challenge.
Unexpected Gift of Windows
Renewal by Andersen’s involvement in Chambers’s story caught his family by surprise. “Never in our wildest dreams did we even think about windows,” Jennifer says. Despite the numerous home improvement projects, windows became a priority after a closer inspection of the house. “I didn’t realize how bad the windows were until Renewal by Andersen got involved,” she continues.
The newly donated windows made a significant impact. Jennifer hopes to see lower cost heating bills during Michigan’s cold winters and an increased sense of security for Christian, since he lives alone. The donation not only addressed an immediate need but also aligned with the family’s commitment to provide a safe and secure home for Christian, enabling him to live independently for as long as possible.
Renewal by Andersen Connection
As a resident of Clarkston, Renewal by Andersen of Detroit’s General Manager Amy Pilarski had been following Chambers’s story through the local news. “I kept reading articles in the Clarkston newspaper about Christian,” she shares. Motivated to make a difference, Pilarski reached out to the Chambers family to see how she and her team could help.
In total, Renewal by Andersen donated 12 windows and two patio doors. “This has been an amazing experience. In Detroit and throughout Renewal by Andersen, we believe in giving back to the communities where we work,” says Pilarski.
Another crucial contributor to the project was Drew’s Home of Clarkston, a local non-profit helping individuals with disabilities live independently. It was through Drew’s Home of Clarkston that Amy and Renewal by Andersen first got involved in renovating Chambers’s home. Pilarski shares that this project has been such a positive experience, and she anticipates undertaking more projects in collaboration with Drew’s Home in the future.
Small Community, Big Heart
The community’s involvement in the project goes beyond moral support. People in Clarkston continue to share Chambers’s story, raise funds, and donate their time and skills to give him a safe home. “The effort to keep Christian in his home has been a true community endeavor. People from all over have resonated with this story and wanted to help,” says Jennifer Chambers. "We cannot thank Renewal by Andersen enough for this donation. It’s been amazing, and we are truly so blessed."
“Christian's just a kindhearted person, and he's been great to work with and super grateful for all the help that we've given him throughout the whole process,” says Pilarski. She emphasized Chambers’s impact on the town, stating, “He is a familiar face here in the community. And it’s genuinely gratifying for us to give back to him at this point.”
As the installation of windows and doors unfolds, a new chapter begins in Chambers’s life — a chapter marked with warmth, security, and unwavering support from a community unwilling to let one of its own face adversity alone. Thanks to Renewal by Andersen and the generous spirit of his community, Christian Chambers can continue to spread his bright light and leave a lasting impact in the heart of Clarkston.
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