POULSBO — Mamie Randle fell to the ground with tears in her eyes, whaling joyful screams, after she and her family drove up their Poulsbo driveway following a family vacation in July.
The house was almost unrecognizable compared to the one she left behind a week before.
Randle, with her husband, Craig, and their four youngest children, had just returned from a six-day trip to Disney World in Florida. The trip was a gift provided by the Make a Wish Foundation for their son, Craig Randle Jr., who was recently cured of sickle cell anemia.
While they were gone, family, friends and co-workers of the Randles pitched in to remodel their home, performing tasks the Randles fell behind on when Craig Jr. was being treated.
“My son and daughter knew what my list was, they knew what I wanted to do but I could never get it all done at one time,” Craig Sr. said. “To me this is overwhelming. I never expected them to do this.”
The idea got started when Tanya Johnson, who stages houses for a living, posted some of her work on Facebook. Mamie Randle jokingly commented, “come stage my house.”
Aulaura Lawrance, Mamie’s daughter, contacted Johnson with the idea to do something nice for the family while they were at Disney World. They came up with a plan to paint the house, replace flooring and perform other jobs the family had on its wish list.
“I never expected anything. I thought she’d maybe clean the house,” Mamie Randle said.
Volunteers from a local chapter of a group called Business Network International, Emmanuel Apostolic Church of Bremerton and Craig Sr.’s shipyard co-workers all chipped in.
“We covered everything from trimming trees to see the mountain view to a new painted exterior, brand new garage doors, a brand new front porch, new flooring on the inside, a brand new painted fireplace on the inside, new furniture, roof cleanings, two brand new fireplaces converted from gas to propane, and just a good thorough cleaning and staging of the home,” Johnson said.
Chrysztyna Rowek, president of the BNI chapter, knew the family from church and worked with Johnson to get volunteers, donations and the word out.
“It’s always great to see how the community comes together when a plea is put out for help,” Rowek said. “Social media has been great for this because between us we know everybody in Kitsap County and so it was really easy to say, ‘Hey, I need a plumber, I need an electrician.’ Whatever it is we knew at least one of them.”
The crew finished almost everything they aimed to complete before the family’s return.
“When you have people who give freely of themselves and purely always come from a place of service, those are the people you really want to help because they’ll never ask for it and they’ll never do it for themselves because they’re too busy doing things for other people,” Rowek said.
The four youngest Randle children — Tiesha, Craig Jr., Sophia and Isaiah — are happy with their new home.
Tiesha Randle was confused when they pulled up to the house, because it looked completely different.
“I just saw the people so I thought it was like a welcome-home party or something because I saw the signs. But then I saw the house and it was white, it was so cool,” Tiesha Randle said. “I can’t even remember what the old house looks like right now, I’m really trying to remember the color.”
“I just know that you have family that you never thought, this is my family right here,” Craig Randle Sr. said.