For the first time in two years, Lynn Potter will return to her North Raleigh home this month to join her husband and two dogs.
“It’s like a miracle,” Potter, 54, said. “It’s just been such a long two years and within two weeks everything’s going to change.”
Potter has spent the past couple of years in the hospital and assisted-living facilities as she was treated for kidney failure and other illnesses.
She uses a wheelchair now to get around, and the exterior of her home did not have a ramp.
On Thursday, Mr. Handyman of Western Wake County, a local franchise of a national repair business, built a wheelchair ramp for Potter for free.
It was the company’s contribution to the National Day of Service and Remembrance, which honors the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Congress created the designation in 2009.
It took Mr. Handyman crews about eight hours to build the ramp, which would have cost a few thousand dollars, said franchise owner Bruce Foster.
But the price was no matter.
“It gives us an opportunity to give back and to block out time and focus on community service,” Foster said.
Mr. Handyman, which has locations across the country, encourages franchises to take on a service project.
Last year, Mr. Handyman of Western Wake County completed jobs around Garner. This year, the company had plans to do projects in Fayetteville until employees heard about Potter.
Nancy Ruffner, president of Navigate NC, which provides assistance and resources for families and elderly people, told Foster about Potter’s situation.
Potter had emailed Ruffner, asking for help getting back home.
Ruffner said she receives emails from people all over the state who ask for help navigating the various systems that aid aging residents. Although Potter is younger than most of the people Ruffner works with, her story stuck.
“Her email just asked if I could help move her home,” Ruffner said. “That got me.”
The wheelchair ramp is the first step to Potter coming home safely, Ruffner said. Once Potter can physically get back in her house, Navigate NC can help her secure at-home care, transportation to a dialysis facility and other resources.
Before all that, though, Potter has some catching up to do. She missed her dogs, a hound and a Border Collie.
She also hopes she can once again work from home. She was previously employed by IBM.
Potter figures her home will be full of the Christmas decorations her husband put up for her two years ago. She didn’t make it home for the holidays that year, and she suspects he never took down the decorations.
“I think we’re going to celebrate the two Christmases we missed,” she said.