Kitchen sink donation wows military mom

Kitchen sink donation wows military mom

Adele Lester keeps a home improvement to-do list in her head: new kitchen sink, new floors and a fence for her backyard.

But that list became insignificant in February when a roadside bomb struck her son's Army patrol in Afghanistan. Spc. Walt Lester was the only one of the five-member patrol to survive.

Now, jobs around the house have taken a back seat to Adele's two grandsons, ages 6 months and 2 years, who are living with her while their dad recovers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and their mom stays with him in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the Angie's List Wishmakers program adopted Adele's to-do list. Two Atlanta contractors installed a kitchen sink, and others are volunteering to install the floors and fencing.

Nick Marine, owner of highly rated Marine Plumbing Service, and Tony Blanca, owner of highly rated Lightning Bug Electric, both in Marietta, teamed up to install the new sink, garbage disposal and upgrade her kitchen wiring.

"There was never a question in my mind as to whether or not I was going to help out," says Marine, a retired U.S. Navy senior chief. "I'm always privileged to help those in need, especially when he's a fellow brother in the armed forces." Blanca, too, is a Navy veteran.

Lightning Bug operations manager James Crofutt says projects like this are "near and dear" to his boss's heart, and despite the down economy, the company has stayed busy. "We have been extremely fortunate, which allows us to do these kinds of things," he says.

Adele, a single mom of three grown sons and a self-employed accountant, says her sink and faucet - a semi-professional stainless steel model with a high-arching pull-down sprayer - looks like it belongs in a TV cooking show.

"Oh my gosh, I just marvel every day and then I compare it to those I see on the Food Network," she says. "It's made it a whole lot easier, especially having the two grandbabies."

American Standard donated the sink and fixtures. "The best part is making life a little easier for Adele during this most trying time," CEO Don Devine says. "We are thankful for her son's service to our nation."

Walt, 23, faces about 18 months of recovery, Adele says. His femur was broken in the explosion and his leg looks like "King Kong took a bite out of his left thigh," she says. But he continues to exceed his doctors' expectations, she says.

Adele's sister, Vicki Lester, nominated her for Wishmakers. She says Adele has a lifelong habit of making her house a refuge for family, friends and anyone else in need. She adopted Walt and his two brothers as teenagers.

But her open-door policy has taken a toll on her house. "Everyone comes and goes and it seems to get worse and worse," Vicki says. The new sink came at a time when her sister needed to know other people cared, she says.

"She is one of those people who will never do anything good for herself," Vicki says.


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Wishmakers connects contractors with homeowners in need

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Contractors donating their services through the Wishmakers program remodeled veteran Lanny Johnson’s kitchen.
Photos courtesy of JLC General Construction
Contractors donating their services through the Wishmakers program remodeled veteran Lanny Johnson’s kitchen. Photos courtesy of JLC General Construction

Angie's List program has helped contractors donate more than 36 projects worth nearly $250,000.

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