Micheal (pronounced “Michelle”) Casey-Beich loved raising her three children in her East Jefferson Street home in Bloomington. Though her children are now grown with their own families, she was once the fun mom on the block who would pile the neighborhood kids into her station wagon and head off for a day at the zoo. Now 70, Casey-Beich finds herself in a different phase of life – and her beautiful home has aged as well.
She has now spent several years afraid the ceiling would fall in and moving buckets to catch leaks whenever it stormed. She knew it was past time for the roof on her home in the Historic District of Bloomington to be replaced after the ceiling plaster in her bedroom came down one night.
“About a year ago, I had surgery and my niece helped me move my bed downstairs, as it was difficult to get upstairs with my arthritis. It was a blessing I was not up there when [the ceiling] fell. It was so frightening when it rained, and there was really nothing I could do besides move the buckets around and empty them out. It was a constant job for me.”
Casey-Beich started to save money and decided to go to her bank and apply for a home equity loan. Since she had no credit built up, her loan was denied. Defeated, crying, and without hope, she left the bank devastated. Looking for a little more privacy to gather herself, Casey-Beich chose a less popular bus stop instead of going to the transfer station like she would normally.
“After I left the bank and I was about ready to cry at this bus stop,” remembered Casey-Beich, “I looked up and there was the Habitat office and I just felt refreshed. I had not thought of going to Habitat, so I really thought God touched me right there. I called up the office the next day and Todd [the A Brush with Kindness coordinator] answered. He was the nicest young man. I couldn’t believe how much peace he gave me. It was no problem for me to get the paperwork together. The stress was just lifted off. I really felt like God had set me at that bus stop on the corner of Jefferson and Main.”
Through A Brush with Kindness and with funds from the City of Bloomington’s Community Development Block Grant, Habitat was able to help Casey-Beich with her project. The scope included tearing off and disposing of the existing roof, replacing damaged roof sheeting, installing a 23 square foot new roof system with metal on all perimeters, and installing flashing at all penetration points. Since volunteers are not able to assist on roofing jobs, Messing Roofing was sub-contracted to complete the project.
“The guys were great and worked so hard,” commented Casey-Beich, “I made sure to keep my outdoor lights on for them, and left them snacks, water and a thank-you sign since I didn’t want to get in their way of working.”
Casey-Beich calls her experience with A Brush with Kindness her “testimony”. “I am so grateful to God for this program,” she said. “I’ve worked hard all my life. I’ve lived here all my life. I was born here. My parents lived here. My Grandpa had a mission here. I feel like God has walked with me and I’m so grateful to God for your organization and the blessing you gave me of peace with the new roof.”