Single mother gets extreme home makeover

MANATEE — When she heard that Bayside Community Church was going to do an extreme makeover on her neighbor’s home, Margaret Kotchey jumped up and down, and then burst into tears.

“It’s an incredible gift for her,” Kotchey said, referring to Lindy Schultz, a long-time Bayside Community Church member who lives in east Bradenton.

Schultz lives in an 800-square-foot home with her 19-year-old son, Paul, who is autistic, and their poodle Bear Bear. Her daughters Elizabeth and Jessica are away at college.

“Lindy works so hard and, being a single mom, she just scrapes by,” Kotchey said.

The “big reveal” of the makeover is 10 a.m. Saturday.

“We’ve invited the entire neighborhood to join the celebration,” said Krystal Sommers, a member of Bayside’s mission and outreach staff.

“We will have an RV parked in front so we can say ‘Move that bus’ like they do on the TV show ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ ” Sommers added.

Church member and project superintendent Cheryl Moore, who is an architect, said Schultz expects some cleaning, painting and plumbing, but not $25,000 worth of donated materials and labor.

Moore’s team was not able to move any load-bearing walls or do any other major structural changes because of a lack of time to get permits.

But roughly 13 local firms have donated a kitchen counter top and table, tile throughout, living room furnishings, outside landscaping, fencing and a gymnastics climbing area in the backyard for Paul, Moore said.

“I can’t wait to see the expression on their faces,” Moore said of the Schultz family. “Everyone, from the workers to the neighbors, so want to help this family.”

The church sent Schultz and Paul to Disney World for two days while the house is being worked on, and Elizabeth and Jessica will meet up with them and travel back to Bradenton for the big reveal, Sommers said.

A church member, Sara Messick, who hopes to be a veterinarian, volunteered to take care of Bear Bear while the family is in Orlando.

Schultz is so busy working when Paul is in school, and then taking care of him when he’s home, that there was never time to fix things, Moore said.

“Bayside recognized that this family needed some major home repairs,” Sommers said. “As a church, we are all about getting into the community. Our heart is not to keep things locked within four walls.”

More than 100 volunteers from the church, including painter Orsolya Dobai, 25, have spent hours painting and doing smaller fix-ups.

“It feels great to help,” said Dobai, who was standing on a ladder earlier this week, painting the kitchen white.

Bayside Community Church, which has 3,000 members now, started in 2002 and held services first at Bashaw Elementary School on Morgan Johnson Road.

Led by Pastor Randy Bezet, the church moved its services to Freedom Elementary in the fall of 2003, said Kristin Becnel, church marketing director.

Bayside’s growing membership required five services at Freedom and the church began to plan several years ago for its own brick and mortar building, Becnel said.

That plan achieved fruition last Saturday when the first service in its own building was held with 1,220 people attending, Sommers said.

The new sanctuary, which cost $13.5 million, including land and buildings, is at 15800 State Road 64 E., five miles east of Interstate 75, on the south side of the road.