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Community comes together to rehab Zinda sisters’ home
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By Carol McIntire
An “Extreme Makeover – Amsterdam style” is taking place in the small village in southern Carroll County.
Thanks to donors and volunteers from near and far, the childhood home of Joy Knox and Jeanne Zinda has been transformed over the last few months.
Jeanne, confined to a wheelchair since birth due to Spina Bifida, has lived in the home all her life. Her sister, Joy Knox, has been caring for her for several years. Joy believes the family’s home dates to 1917. The sisters’ parents moved into the home prior to Jeanne’s birth and called the residence home until their deaths, the most recent passing being that of their mother in November 2022.
During a major step in the project Sept. 9 – the installation of 21 windows by Window World, Jeanne said one of her favorite things was to sit on the front porch with her mother, but due to the condition of the porch, she was unable to enjoy the view and fresh air this year.
“I liked to sit on the porch with mom,” she said. “I miss that time.”
Over the years the home had slowly fallen into disrepair and the two didn’t have the means to complete necessary improvements.
Amsterdam Mayor Jim Phillips spearheaded the effort along with Pastor David Guess of the Amsterdam Church of God.
Jim’ wife, Jamie, met Jeanne through a group at the church and the two struck up a friendship and threw her support behind the project.
“The house has been on our radar for the past year due to its deteriorated state,” Phillips said. “We have been looking at options to get the house fixed up and make it safer for the ladies.”
According to Phillips, the initial plan was to remove the front porch, which was falling in, and the wheelchair ramp and replace both.
“Once I was on site and really looking over the home, it became clear much more work was needed,” Phillips said.
He took on the job of making a list of needed repairs and seeking donations to make the project a reality.
The first phase was to remove the existing porch. Thanks to the donation of roll off and hauling services by local businessman Donnie Moore and David Ciepley along with a donation of tipping fees (disposal costs) by Interstate Waste Services, the porch was demolished.
Step two included the lengthy process of scraping the exterior of the home for a fresh new coat of paint. Local businessman Rich Law, owner of Grammy’s Kitchen, volunteered the use of his bucket truck for the project.
Phillips began gathering sponsors for the project.
“It just blossomed from there,” he said, watching Window World employees, who donated their time to install the windows on a Saturday.
Houston Sexton, owner of S&S Softwash of Mingo Junction donated the pressure wash services to prepare the home for paint.
Lowe’s Home Improvement of Steubenville donated primer and paint for the exterior project and all the material to build a new 8×20 foot gabled roof porch, as well as selling other items at cost.
When Carrollton businessman George Miser learned of the project, he identified most issues with the exterior of the home stemmed from missing gutters on the home. His company donated new facia, lumber, aluminum wrap, gutters and downspouts to the project.
Several of the 21 windows in the two-story home were missing screens or glass, and with the deteriorated state of the windows, the ladies could not open them.
Phillips knew replacing the windows was a huge part of the project.
“He reached out to Window World asking for a donation of any kind to help improve the sisters’ failing home. Window World owner Pat Moran visited the home and measured openings to replace all 21 windows. Not only did Window World provide all the custom-manufactured windows, but company employees also offered to install them all on their day off, a Saturday.
When Rick Jones, siding manager for the Moran family, learned of the project he immediately said his crew would love to be involved and they decided they would do a customer installation on their day off.
The Window World crew, with Moran and his son, Patrick, and granddaughter Emma, were on site for the installation Sept. 9.
They took special care on the front window of the home. The old window included a stained-glass section at the top, which held special meaning the sisters. Mayor Phillips’ mother agreed to reglaze the window so it would be a part of the home’s new look. Window World employees carefully installed the new window with the stained-glass portion remaining above.
“Giving back is just part of what we do, as so much has been given to us. We are happy to be of help, and I’m especially grateful to our team for taking it a step further by donating their time and Saturday to install the windows,” Moran said.
Joy offered a visit to the inside of the home where she demonstrated how to open and shut the new windows.
“This is so nice,” she said, demonstrating how to open the window above the kitchen sink. “We can open all the windows now and allow fresh air inside.”
She and Jeannie said there was only one word to use to describe the experience: “Awesome.” There is no other word to describe what is being done. It is just awesome,” Jeanne said. “I just wish mom knew what they are doing.”
“Jim and his family have gone above and beyond for us. And now Window World…truly angels among us,” commented Joy.
When asked how the installation was coming along, one Window World employee responded. “Great, I can’t tell you how good it fells to help someone out. This is a great day!”
Phillips is working on the installation of the front porch, with his group of volunteers, that includes George Scott, owner of Mr. Elite Removal.
“This project wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who have helped me,” Phillips said. His list includes Everett Black Teresa Black, Marty Morris, Elizabeth Phillips, Jamie Phillips, Katie Phillips, Tommy Phillips, David Teeters and Tommy Wright.
“This project would not have been possible without my wife inspiring me inspiring me and motivating me to push forward and the generosity of so many sponsors who were so quick to step up and fill a need for these amazing ladies,” Phillips said.
“Many people have thanked me for what I am doing, but I really haven’t done much. The glory goes to God as he puts up exactly where we are supposed to be. Right now, that just happens to be working on his house for Jeanne and Joy.”
The mayor hopes the project inspires others to step up and help their neighbors.
“If you see a need, try to fill it.”
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