Community takes over home renovation project for family of man injured in car accident


GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — A Gloucester couple’s fixer-upper dream home didn’t seem like a daunting task until a terrible accident changed their world.

The Phelps family knew they had their work cut out for them when they bought this home — they just never expected a bunch of strangers to be the ones doing the work.

Shaun Phelps had just returned from working in Puerto Rico with Dominion Energy when he and his wife bought their dream home.  They knew it needed some love.

“A bunch of piddly stuff that I knew I could handle,” said Shaun.  He and his wife Christina had just started the renovations when Shaun got into a car accident that put him in a coma.  

Doctors weren’t sure if he’d ever be the same.  

Lowe’s Kitchen Specialist John Seltzer had met the family a few months earlier, heard about what happened, and started making calls. 

“Hey, we have a client who was in a bad car accident and that he’s currently in a coma,” Seltzer said he would tell people.  “And it’s kind of been put on my heart to finish this project for this family.”

He called national vendors and local contractors.

“Nobody ever said no and that’s what was absolutely amazing,” said Seltzer. 

For the last month, they’ve all been working.  Seltzer said, “So this downstairs was pretty much a complete transformation from here clear to the other side of the house.”

At least 50 people, including Shaun’s Puerto Rico team, have helped. 

“When you set your heart on something and you are a community that’s built upon love and you want to love the people around you, you can accomplish anything,” Seltzer said.

There’s still a ways to go — for both the house and Shaun’s recovery.

“They had to remove the feeding tube this morning,” Shaun said.

But the family of six is grateful for the extended family they never knew they had.

Shaun said, “Can’t thank them enough and can’t tell them enough how much I appreciate all of them.  Means the world to me.  Means the world to my family.”

Seltzer estimates the businesses have donated at least $70,000 worth of time and materials.  Their goal is to be done in the next two-and-a-half weeks.  If you’d like to help the family pay for medical expenses, you can visit their GoFundMe page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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