A family who returned to their home in Gander on Monday after tragically losing a member of their family was greeted with completed renovations to their house.
Denise and Jeremy Whalen hadn't seen their home for two weeks.
Denise Whalen's mother, Evelyn Stokes, died in a four-vehicle crash on the highway near Clarenville on Sept. 16. Whalen's father, Gerard Stokes, who was working on renovations to the house to make it more wheelchair-friendly for his granddaughter, was critically injured in the accident and remains in hospital.
Whalen said she and her husband couldn't believe their eyes when they returned home.
"I didn't think it was mine — I was like, 'No that's not my house,' " she said.
"It's amazing. It looks nothing like what we left two weeks ago. It's completely different and it's hard to take in — it's just so hard to take in. We've been emotionally up and down for two weeks and this is just — it's amazing."
Corey Fancey, a contractor who helped complete work on the home, said he had a special motivation to help.
"[I said] I'm going to be here until this is finished. I had to be because Jeremy's been a friend of mine for years — since we were kids," Fancey said.
Claudette Menchenton, a friend of the family, organized the project through Facebook.
She said it wasn't an easy task to get everything straightened away for her friends, but she's happy with the result.
"Every bit of it was worth it — the laughter, the tears, the moments where I was scared that it wasn't going to come together," Menchenton said.
'It's just amazing. There never was or never will be words that we can express how thankful we are.' - Denise Whalen
Whalen struggled to find the words to thank everyone involved.
"These people, some of them don't even know who we are, and you can't even comprehend that kind of love and support that people can pull together," she said.
"It's just amazing. There never was or never will be words that we can express how thankful we are."
Denise Whalen said she's looking forward to showing her father photos of their home, and can't wait until he's able to come and see it for himself.