Ridges residents rally to help woman spruce up her home

Jimmy Wagner cuts brush at a home on School Ridge Road in the Ridges Saturday morning. Wagner spearheaded a volunteer drive to help a neighbor whose home had fallen into disrepair.  A deck will be replaced, the house will be stained and overgrown brush was removed. More than 20 neighbors and volunteers took part in the effort.

Kelley Reed describes herself as a friendly person and is open about her faith, noting that she regularly invites in Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on her door for something to drink and a chat.

Reed’s neighbors, however, didn’t know this about her. In fact, most didn’t know her at all. All they knew was that she was in a house that looked very run down on the outside.

That all changed Saturday when a group of 22 neighbors joined together to fix up the exterior of Reed’s home in the 300 block of School Ridge Road in the Ridges neighborhood. Neighbors removed her deck, took ivy off the side of the house and filled a large trash bin to the brim with trimmings from overgrown bushes and trees.

“I feel so blessed,” Reed said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Neighbor Jimmy Wagner organized the community event by gathering volunteers and finding sponsors to pitch in. Work started at 8 a.m. on the chilly morning and significant headway was noticeable after just a few hours.

Wagner first noticed the house when he moved to the area about two years ago and would often drive by.

“You would have thought no one lived here,” Wagner said.

After talking with some neighbors, he learned that Reed lived there alone and was elderly and disabled. Those neighbors used to help her out in her yard, but were getting on in age themselves. That’s when Wagner thought he could get involved.

“I’m healthy enough to help out. I’ve been given a good life and I figured the person who lived here couldn’t afford to keep it up or wasn’t healthy enough,” he said. “I came over to introduce myself and she started crying. She said, ‘Thank, God!’ and that her prayers had been answered.”

Reed, who has lived alone in the home since her 104-year-old mother had to move into a senior home about four years ago, remembers the tears Memorial Day weekend when Wagner made his first visit.

“I’m a crybaby,” she said. “I fell on my knees and praised the Lord. He heard my prayers.”

Wagner spent the past few months recruiting sponsors and organizing the help day.

On the corporate side, Porter Homes next week will replace the deck that was torn out and Wagner also got sponsorship from Home Depot, Sam’s Club, E&E Door and Window, Rub 1 Out, Rocky Mountain Sanitation, Central Distributing Co. and Bookcliff Gardens.

“It’s a nice neighborhood deal where the community dove in and helps a lady,” Wagner said.


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