Tonawanda News

August 15, 2013

Linwood homeowner wins contest

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A North Tonawanda resident who barely survived a medical condition earlier this year will receive a makeover to the exterior of her home after being selected as a winner of the “Helping Others Paint Exteriors” contest, better known as Project HOPE.

Megan Sholtz, 35, a single mother of three who lives on Linwood Avenue, was chosen after Painters Plus owner Jesse Gooch combed through roughly 20 applications as he considered which Lumber City resident would have their house spruced up.  

The contest, which is in its third year, was launched by the proprietor as a means to assist those struggling through hardships, whether due to disabilities, age or financial struggles, which made the selection difficult. 

“It was tough,” Gooch said. “But this year’s winner is extremely deserving and I’m very excited to be able to do this for her.”

Gooch said Sholtz twice slipped into a coma when her spleen became infected over the winter. She did not immediately address the issue, fearing a lapse in employment would leave her family in dire financial straits. While her medical bills piled up, her house began to fall further into disrepair. 

“She got really sick and went to the hospital and came out of the coma both times,” he said. “But the time she was sick really devastated her financially. Fortunately she’s doing a lot better though she had a really tough patch.”

Sholtz’s mother, who is disabled, has also moved in to the 1,200-square foot, two-story home. Gooch said Sholtz had wanted to fix the house, but simply did not have the means. 

“It’s severely decayed,” he said. “There’s hardly any paint left.”

That will change next week when a crew of about 25 employees and volunteers including some in city governance will prime, paint and otherwise refurbish the exterior of the home on Aug. 24, with preparations also taking place ahead of time. 

“This is a great project that helps not only the homeowner, but the entire neighborhood,” said Mayor Rob Ortt, who will also be participating in the project. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.