DANBURY, Conn. -- He's done it again. Peter Brady of Brookfield, known widely in the area as the Handy Dandy Handyman, completed a building project Saturday to help a family on Lake Kenosia in Danbury.
The project involved erecting a wheelchair ramp at the house of a woman who recently became paralyzed and relies on a wheelchair.
In addition to the work, Brady's organization, Handy Dandy Handyman Ministry, delivered a lightweight wheelchair and bed to make life a little easier for her.
He and volunteer Glen Higgins, a framer, completed the job by lunchtime, when Epy Lawson was able to take the ramp down to her walkway instead of being carried in a wheelchair by her husband and daughter.
The family has made many adjustments in recent months since Lawson found out she has aggressive brain cancer and is now paralyzed on one side.
The news came out of nowhere, said Lawson, a vibrant wife and mother who is active in her church and community.
"I went to the ER because one side of my face was (drooping). I thought I had Bell's Palsy. They did a CT scan and found brain tumors. One is malignant. Both are inoperable," she said.
The new ramp, she said, will make ease the burden on her family, she said.
She is retired from multiple careers, including as director of the ESL language program of Western Connecticut Regional Adult and Continuing Education, in Danbury.
"I know Epy. We were called into action by a pastor of Danbury Church of Christ. The new wheelchair is much lighter. The bed will let (her husband) remain near when a hospital bed is delivered this week," said Brady.
There was no question he wanted to help.
Recipients of Handy Dandy Handyman Ministry are, "Generally speaking those who for whatever reason are just down on their luck and need a helping hand in some material or spiritual form," said Brady.
The lumber was donated by Ring's End in New Milford, delivered that morning by manager Rick Moreau.
That's how projects go when Brady hears about a need somewhere. He relies on the kindness of many people, including a subscriber list of 2,200 he emails asking for donations or volunteers to spring into action.
Since founding Handy Dandy Handyman Ministry in 2000 with his wife, Carol Ann, 900 families have had repair and building work done at no cost, although they sometimes make a donation.