By Bobinec, Greg on March 10, 2020.
Following a sequence of unfortunate events to one of Ashcroft Master Builder’s family, the home builder stepped up to take on a project they have never done before to give back a welcoming home to the family who lost their home to fire last summer.
Last June, Rick and Brenda Barva lost their Lethbridge home to fire while Rick was recovering in the Calgary Foothills Hospital from a severe car accident. The string of tragedies that struck the family sparked inspiration in their son, Brock Fulkerth, a drafting technologist at Ashcroft, to rebuild the home they lost.
“We have our drafting technologist here, and his stepfather, Rick Barva, was in a horrible head-on collision in May of last year in Welling, and almost succumbed to his injuries and was flown to Calgary. During his recovery time there, he and his wife’s house burned and it destroyed the entire inside of the house,” says Dave Bodell, general manager of Ashcroft Homes. “Brock Fulkerth, our drafting technologist, approached Ashcroft and said what he would like to be able to do is to rebuild that home while they were gone and were recovering. It is not something that we typically do because we are a new-home builder; we don’t do reclamation or restoration typically, but because Brock is one of our Ashcroft family members, we jumped at the opportunity to do that.”
Taking the home’s original structure, Fulkerth, with the help of the whole Ashcroft team, was able to reconfigure, update and bring back the family home. While the Barvas continued their recovery, Ashcroft provided them with a rental to call home in the meantime, while friends, family and community members helped support them through a GoFundMe campaign.
After a challenging nine months of reconstruction, the Barvas were met with a crowd of people excited to welcome them back into their home and back into their community.
“Brock had asked his mother Brenda that he be able to make all of the decisions in the house for how it should be redone, so he wanted to move some walls, do the basement different, he wanted to do different windows, and he also got confirmation from his mom that she would never take a look at the house and would never see it while it was under construction,” says Bodell. “We did a reveal and actually went and picked up Brenda and Rick from a duplex that they were renting from Ashcroft at the time to be able to stay in. We picked them up and we were met with a fire truck that had a banner of the old house on it, we had the couple blindfolded so they couldn’t see when we turned the corner, and there was about 250 people standing on the road waiting and cheering, and we got them out and after a couple little speeches, the crowd yelled ‘Move That Truck’ and that was the first exposure that they had to see their home.”
Primarily focusing on new builds the Ashcroft team went in a new direction to restore the home and bring it back to life.
“It was different because it is something that we do not normally do. We would actually ask to be able to bulldoze the whole house and start from scratch because that is what we do,” says Bodell. “There was certainly a learning experience to go in and clean it out, do all of the necessary things to the house parts that burned; it was a learning curve and a slower process than what it would take us to build a house, but we were doing it for the right reason. Our whole staff talked about it often and we did it because we cared about the family and our draftsman.”
Now in their new home, the Barva family is still settling in, but seeing progress in Rick’s recovery and getting back into their old routines and spending time with their family. Bodell says throughout the whole process, the Ashcroft family grew much bigger following the completion of the home.
“They are doing very good, they are very excited and they are still moving in a few of their belongings into the new house, but Rick has almost fully recovered and he is back at it and attending his grandchildren’s hockey games and he is in very good spirits, both him and Brenda,” says Bodell. “Throughout this whole process, they have become a big part of our family.”
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