Community improves Lake Zurich family’s view with new deck
Neighborhood volunteers help the Brodeur family of Lake Zurich rebuild their backyard deck in November. Materials were also donated for the project. | Contributed photo
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:37AM
LAKE ZURICH — Last spring, Lake Zurich residents Kelly and Larry Brodeur received news that their neighbors were going to pitch in and help them build a brand-new deck for their family.
Now the deck is built and the Brodeurs are looking forward to enjoying it this spring.
“It has been a very overwhelming thing for our family and we are very honored,” said Kelly Brodeur.
The couple’s 10-year-old son, Harrison, is autistic and has a seizure condition. Brodeur said Harrison loves to be outdoors, but that the previous deck they had in the back on their house was unsafe.
Brodeur said she and her husband moved into their house in 1995.
“The deck was bad then, but we never had time to do anything about it,” she said.
Brodeur said as the years went on the condition of the deck grew worse and large carpenter ants were beginning to further destroy the deck when their neighbors, Julie Parchment and Mark Bajor, knocked on their door with the offer to replace the structure.
“I’m neighbors and friends with the Brodeurs and I see them with Harrison all the time,” said Parchment. “I knew Harrison liked being outside when the weather is nice.”
Parchment said after she came up with the idea to build the new deck, she needed skilled workers, so she contacted Bajor, who serves as a Lake Zurich firefighter.
“I started asking some guys at work,” said Bajor, who later took the idea to Home Depot and applied for a grant from the Home Depot Foundation. “They added everything up and issued a grant for the materials.”
Though the offer was made in the spring, the process took some time. In late October 2012, Bajor and numerous volunteers demolished the old deck. They then dug the necessary holes for concrete.
“On the third weekend we went ahead and built the deck,” said Bajor. “We had numerous, numerous volunteers.”
Bajor said labor was donated by Atrium Garden Center, Peapod donated food and a local exterminator donated his time to help with the ant problem in the house.
“It was a full Lake Zurich project,” said Bajor. “Everyone was involved.”
Bajor said Lake Zurich Village President Suzanne Branding, along with many of the volunteers who had helped, attended the unveiling of the two-tiered deck after construction had been completed.
Parchment said some local elementary school children also organized a cupcake sale to benefit Harrison’s school, the Chicago Education Project in Schaumburg. The sales raised more than $400, she said.
“This tiny project turned into a community-wide project,” Parchment said.
Bajor said the deck was built to be very safe for Harrison and easy to maintain.
“He requires 24/7 care, so we wanted to give the family something that is maintenance-free,” said Bajor. “Also, the family had never owned patio furniture.”
Bajor explained that in addition to the deck the family received a gas grill and a gift card to buy patio furniture. As for now, Kelly Brodeur said they have decorated the deck for Christmas and are looking forward to spending more time outside in the spring.
“We do a lot of decorating for Christmas and it looks very pretty out there,” she said. “It’s so much more than we ever could have expected.”