Compassionate Contractors Donate Time

Saturday, November 15th 2008, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A group of volunteer contractors is making a difference for one Tulsa family.

They say their rag-tag group is turning into full-fledged charity organization and it is all thanks to one woman's heartbreaking story.

A Tulsa grandmother lost her life savings after getting swindled by a crooked contractor. And the professionals who stepped up to help out say they're drilling new hope into the community.

From old tools and old tools-of-the-trade comes a new kind of charity.

"This has literally brought me to tears," said carpenter Chris Walsh.

Lynda Salter's house caught fire after the December ice storm. She says she got the insurance money over the summer and paid a contractor up-front for work he never did.

"People, people don't help people no more. But these guys do, they're out here night and day," said Lynda Salter.

When Chris Walsh heard the story, he asked a few friends to help Salter get a roof overhead. They started up Commonwealth Contractors.

"A lot of contractors are gun shy when it comes to giving financially to a ministry. Where here, they can give money, time, talent and they know exactly what they're doing and where it's going," Chris Walsh said.

But they're sawing their way through a total transformation. From a new roof to granite countertops.

"I've watched that show, Extreme Home Makeover, and wondered how they can do it, but the army of people, the planning, I understand, is that they do that for a year in advance. We had three weeks," said homebuilder Tim Walterbach.

More than two dozen professionals hammered away for at least one afternoon. About 80 local businesses, from lumber to electrical, made a donation.

And Walsh says the pros are teaching young volunteers the ropes. It's a way to "catch a break" to break into the business. Teaching craftsmanship by lending a helping hand.

After just one month of work, Lynda Salter is set to enter her house early next week and the Commonwealth Contractors say they're inspired to help others in need.

If you want to find out how you can donate your time or resources contact Tim Walterbach at 918-712-3232.