Neighbors, volunteers paint long-time Medina resident’s house after she was cited

Photos by Ginny Kropf: This is Debbie Stella’s house at 108 State St., with a new coat of paint, thanks to the generosity of neighbors and friends.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 April 2023 at 8:11 am

Debbie Stella of Medina, top center, is surrounded by neighbors and friends who painted her house for free. Next to her, clockwise, are Ben Boryzewski, Terry Feitshans, Quentin McLedon and his wise Alicia McLedon.

MEDINA – Debbie Stella is very grateful for her neighbors and volunteers who have given her home a new look.

They have come to her aid after she was feeling distraught last September. That’s when she received a letter from the code enforcement officer informing her she had 30 days to paint her house and trim her bushes or be fined $250 a day.

Stella is 74 and lives alone on a fixed income.

“If I didn’t have the money to keep my house up, how did they think I was going to pay a fine like that,” Stella asked.

Deeply worried, she told her neighbors Quentin and Alicia McLedon about her predicament. They started spreading the word.

“We couldn’t just do nothing,” Quentin said. “She’s somebody’s grandma. We couldn’t see her fined.”

Alicia’s dad Chris Adams knew Ben Boryzewski and knew he had painted houses, so they contacted him.

“The day after Easter, Alicia asked me what color I’d like my house,” Stella said. “I told her blue. Two days later I heard a commotion in my yard, and there was Ben and Terry unloading paint and ladders.”

First, the house had to be scraped. The men and the McLedons pitched in and in a day had the house all scraped.

In the meantime, Boryzewski cleaned out Stella’s basement, hauling out waste, debris, benches and old appliances. The money he received from selling the junk he used to buy the first gallon of paint. The rest, he paid for himself. They finished the job on Friday.

Ben Boryzewski, right, stands with his friend Terry Feitshans next to their business sign in the yard of Debbie Stella’s house.

While the volunteers who showed up painted the house, Alicia fed them.

Stella said people have stopped to tell her how nice her house looks.

More importantly, she’s made some wonderful new friends, she said.

“The kindness and caring of these wonderful people have brightened my world, not just my house,” Stella said. “I’ve lived here for 48 years and have watched two generations of my neighbors grow up to be the loving adults they’ve become now.”

Stella didn’t have any money to pay the painters, but she wanted to show her appreciation. She started encouraging Boryzewski to start his own business. He hadn’t been worked steady, only doing odd jobs. He and Feitshans are “Jacks of all trades,” he said.

He got his business number and made a sign, “B & T Handyman.” Stella wanted to be the first one to advertise for him, so she told him to put the sign in her front yard.

The two aren’t done helping Stella yet. A section of her porch is rotting and they are going to fix that. And they are going to repair her back porch.

“I’ve no way to say thank you for what they’ve done,” Stella said.