Thursday, April 7, 2011

Home Makeover Doubles As Birthday Gift From EN Community

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office and its community partners banded together over the weekend to help an East Naples woman celebrate her 88th birthday by giving her home a much needed makeover.

Amy Atkins has lived at 5264 Maple Lane since 1984. She moved there with her husband Elmer from Brooklyn, N.Y., where she worked as a nurse. Her husband died two years after the move. Atkins, better known as “Miss Amy,” is well-regarded in the East Naples community for her work with the local Salvation Army, where she helped start the organization’s afterschool program and senior ladies group.

Atkins had a long career in nursing up until her retirement from ManorCare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in East Naples at age 85. Atkins not only dedicated herself to her work and the community, but to her family as well. Seven years ago Atkins welcomed her daughter Gina and Gina’s four children into her home after Gina was hit by a car.

Close friend Dixie Lee noticed that the conditions of Atkins’ home were deteriorating, especially the wheelchair ramp that Gina used. Wanting to help, Lee contacted CCSO about Atkins’ situation after learning about a sheriff’s home makeover project in Golden Gate in December 2010.

CCSO members, along with local residents and employees from Lowe’s and Tom Amendola General Contractors, gathered at Atkins’ house Saturday morning to do much needed repairs, including to the wheelchair ramp and air conditioning unit. They also spruced up the exterior of the home and yard. By the end of the day, a new ramp was built, the house was pressure-washed and the yard was landscaped.

CCSO gives special thanks to the East Naples Lowe’s store, Super Wal-Mart at 9885 Collier Blvd., Tom Amendola III General Contractors and Tropic Disposal for their contributions to the project.

Above: Atkins takes in the moment as members of CCSO and the East Naples community join together to make badly needed repairs to the house she has lived in for 27 years.
Photo by Kristi Lester/CCSO

Amy Atkins’ home before the makeover project.

From left, Atkins’ grand-daughter Lindsey, Atkins, Cpl. Sylee Gibson and Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala take a moment to celebrate Atkins’ 88th birthday with a cake donated by Super Wal-Mart.

Photos submitted by Cpl. Sylee Gibson/CCSO(2)

 Atkins gives East Naples Lt. Jay Mulholland an appreciative hug.

 Cpl. Sylee Gibson and resident Sarah Walsh help landscape Atkins’ yard.

 Lowe’s employees pressure-clean Atkins’ outdoor shed.

 Mason Rae, son of Lowe’s employee Brandon Rae, helps out by tossing debris into a dumpster.

 Atkins’ great-granddaughter Andrea, right, Davee Lester, center, and Cole Mulholland take a balloon break while helping out with the project.

Photos by Kristi Lester/CCSO(5)

At the end of the day, the wheelchair ramp was rebuilt, the yard was landscaped and other repairs were made to Atkins’ house.

Photo by Cpl. Sylee Gibson/CCSO