More than 2,000 businesses and volunteers donated their goods and services toward rebuilding the Pleasant Grove fire-scarred home.
More than 15,000 square feet of sod was donated to complete the Richardsons’ landscaping.
By Matt Bennett
In mid-May 2005, Greg and Holly Richardson experienced a house fire that gutted parts of the family’s 8,000-square-foot home in Pleasant Grove.
Because the family has 20 children, 16 of whom have been adopted from around the world, the family was facing a tough situation of rebuilding their already patched-together home with limited financial resources.
Thankfully for the Richardson family, neighborly charity was not far away.
Led by the efforts of neighbor and friend Tracy Gillman, the community rallied around the cause of rebuilding the Richardsons’ home by donating time and money.
Tracy got the ball rolling by making lists of everyone she knew who could contribute toward the rebuilding of the home.
Once she started making calls, businesses and people jumped on board and brainstormed additional businesses and people who could help.
Before long, synergy led to a major remodel of the Richardsons’ home and property.
The remodel included a major landscaping overhaul — including new fencing, retaining walls, trees, shrubs, wood chips, sod, sprinklers, playground equipment, a planted garden, trampoline and barbecue pit. As part of the exterior renovation, volunteers also replaced the worn septic tank by hooking up the home to a sewer line.
Workers and businesses also extensively revamped the home and the home’s interior. The entire home was repainted and carpeted. Heating and air conditioning was supplied to areas of the home where it didn’t previously exist.
Rooms were filled with new furniture and appliances — including two stainless steel oversized fridges, two microwaves, two dishwashers and three washer/dryer pairs.
The home makeover also included new cabinets, granite countertops, wall hangings, beds and window treatments.
THE FAMILY COMES HOME
On Aug. 13, 2005, at 7 p.m., it was time for the Richardson family to come home from their vacation and see their new-and-improved family dwelling.
Speeches were given by key contributors as the family fought to keep their composure. The Bank of American Fork donated $500 for each child’s saving account, and a check for $26,468 was presented to the family, courtesy of generous neighbors and well-wishers.
Finally, as the crowd counted down, the large coach-style bus slowly pulled away revealing the sparkling new home to Greg and Holly and their 20 children.
The children jumped and screamed, while Greg and Holly tearily passed out hugs to friends and volunteers.
The family first visited the backyard where the children tested their new trampoline and other backyard toys.
After working up a slight sweat, the children followed Greg and Holly into their new great room.
Greg and Holly fought back emotion again, as their children more eagerly scouted-out their new environment.
“There are times when we feel alone,” Greg said from a microphone after seeing his home. “And we all have our problems. And we don’t know how it’s going to work out. I don’t think we’ll ever feel we can’t go to this community for help.”
The mother of this large family was overcome with emotion for the community and her neighbors.
“I don’t know how we could live here and not know how much we are loved by this community,” said Holly.
Tracy Gillman (left), neighbor and friend to the Richardson family, headed efforts to renovate the family’s 8,000-square-foot home.
Special attention was paid to the master suite, which features this new bed set.
New top-of-the-line furniture was donated from various companies to complete the renovation of the Richardson home.
Hundreds of neighbors and well-wishers welcomed the Richardson family home on Aug. 10, 2005. The Richardson caravan was led by the Pleasant Grove High School marching band and a police escort.
Thousands of dollars in donations were made toward the landscaping alone. The trampoline came complete with water jets. A playset, waterfall and barbecue pit were also donated for the family of 22.