Calgary family gives house to family who lost son, home in floods
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:42PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 27, 2014 1:32PM EST
Dave and Verna Roberts were really happy walking into their new home today. And really happy doesn’t even begin to explain it. They walked around the house looking at the bedrooms, the jetted tub and the kitchen while tearing up.
The couple has had a pretty rough past couple years. Dave broke his back in three places. Then they lost their son in a car accident. Six months after that, tragedy struck the High River, Alta. residents lost their 100-year-old home in the floods.
Skip ahead to the 42-minute mark of the video above to see our full story.
“Most people don’t ask for help, we are definitely those people,” says Dave to CTV Calgary. Verna quickly adds, “Until we filled out the Kijiji ad,” as she laughs over her tears.
The Kijiji ad she is referring to was one posted in the middle of January by Calgary country singer Jason Hastie.
“This is my first house and I’ve obviously grown pretty attached to it,” Hastie told Kevin Newman Live last month. The Hastie family is going to be building a new house on the same lot and were hoping to start building by March. “I’ve lived in it for the past 10 years and there are quite a few houses in our neighbourhood that are being torn down and I really didn’t want to see that. Our initial thought, when I was talking to my wife about it, was to try to help somebody affected by the flood.”
Within days of the ad being posted online it was viewed more than 300,000 times and Hastie received more than 1,500 emails about the house. Over the past month they have read through applications, consulted with family and neighbours and today announced the recipients.
“They are an incredibly resilient family and are not the type of people to ask for sympathy in any way,” says Hastie to Kevin Newman Live. “We had asked the final five applicants to provide us with one personal reference and one work-related (professional) reference. Dave and Verna assembled their friends and provided us with over 100 reference letters. This in itself showed us not only how much they wanted the house, but how much support they have around them.”
The one catch to the initial ad and offer was that the recipients would have to cover the moving costs. Hastie initially offered to pay $1,000 to help cover the costs, but Holmes Building Movers stepped up and offered to cover the entire cost, which will be about $25,000.
“It’s a little sad, but really very cool,” says Hastie as he prepares to say goodbye to his house. “Pretty overwhelming, but in a good way.”
The house has currently been lifted off the foundation and has been moved to the front of the yard. In the next few days it will be taken off the property and kept together until spring when it’ll be moved to High River.
“When this happened everyone pulled together for us and it was just amazing,” says Dave. “The generosity of Jason and Gina is unparalleled.”
Verna says the first thing she will do when the house is all set up is hop in the Jacuzzi tub.
Dave says, “I can’t wait until we can move in.”