FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Heartfelt hard work is underway at Judy Dye’s Fort Lauderdale home. It’s a demolition project that is repaying an act of kindness that happened 14 years ago, with just one neighbor looking out for another.
It started when the winds of Hurricane Wilma were blowing. Tom Runyan found himself in need of shelter.
“The seed was planted the day I ran across the street in Hurricane Wilma and said, ‘My roof is blowing off, help!’” he said.
That’s when Judy Dye opened her home and her heart to Runyan.
“I said, ‘I know what you’re going to do, you bring your five friends, your two dogs, you get over here.’ I was not going to have someone over there with the roof blowing off in a hurricane. And that’s how our friendship started,” recalled Judy.
All these years later, now Runyan had the opportunity to repay that act of kindness.
“I got a call from Judy, I’m an attorney. She said, ‘Tom, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got a hearing about my pool,’” said Runyan.
Dye was facing citations and fines from the city because her pool popped out of the ground and was in bad shape.
“I was frantic. Here’s the city sending me this letter. I just panicked. I said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how I’m going to handle this.’ I showed the letter to Tom and he said, ‘Judy, I’ll go with you!’”
And off to court they went.
Dye couldn’t afford to pay fines or get the problem fixed, so Runyan told the judge, one way or another, the work would get done.
“I said, ‘Out of the graciousness of our community, I’m going to find a contractor who’s willing to work with us at no cost to get this resolved. There’s got to be good people out there,’” he said.
Alan Monette was in court that day, too. He owns Keystone Builders. He watched Dye struggle to walk to the front of the room with Runyan supporting her.
“As they were on their way out I approached Tom and asked if I could help and get involved. I knew I was capable of managing some of the things from there it just took on its own life,” Monette said.
What began as a single act of kindness blossomed into a huge effort of all volunteers at Dye’s place. They demolished her pool to take care of the code violations.
But it didn’t stop there.
They also painted her house, landscaped the yard and fixed her leaky roof.
“I feel like the original complaint to the city turned out to be a tremendous blessing for me. When I look around right now, I think look at all these people. I’m a stranger to them and they took their day off to make my life ultimately easier,” Dye humbly stated.
A lot of these volunteers are Monette’s employees and members of Calvary Chapel in Hollywood. Many are giving more than just their time.
“They went out on their own and each of them bought different things for the project, each of them donated to the GoFundMe we established. They were the contributors to that,” Monette said.
For Dye, it’s a bit overwhelming and emotional.
“This is the most exciting and beautiful thing that ever happened to me. I feel like, my goodness, Lord I got Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. This is such a gift for me from the community, such a beautiful group of people; I’ll never forget it. I am so, so thankful and grateful. God bless them,” Dye said.
The story doesn’t end here.
Monette and Runyan want to keep this going, doing whatever they can to assist others like Dye – neighbors united to help one another.
If you would like to help out by volunteering or perhaps donating, you can check out the group’s GoFund Me page.