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Work begins soon to remodel home of Oak Ridge mother and son amputees

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) - There's good news for a family in Oak Ridge. Work to remodel their home to make it wheelchair friendly will begin at the end of the month.

Margaret Jones was diagnosed with diabetes 20 years ago. Her son developed the disease when he was 11. Both have lost limbs. Margaret Jones is a double amputee and had to quit work after losing her first leg.

A local business owner saw WATE 6 On Your Side's initial story, started a fundraising drive, and volunteers have enlisted to help.

Oak Ridge bagel shop owner Donna Sullivan met with two contractors Monday. They went over plans and timetables deciding when work will begin to help the Joneses.

"People are just helping. It's unbelievable. We need more money to keep us going, keep the projects going," said Hot Bagel Shop owner Donna Sullivan.

Double amputee Margaret Jones struggles to get around in her home. She needs her place to be more wheelchair friendly, especially the bathroom. Getting into the shower chair is tricky.

"I lock myself down, make sure this don't move, then slide myself over. Then I'm scared I might fall," she said.

Her 30-year-old son DeMario lost a leg in July. A diabetic since of age of 11, he's just learning to maneuver inside the bathroom.

"It should make her life completely different," said contractor Scott Wright.

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Wright is a general contractor, volunteering his labor. Together with Tony Scott, a remodeling contractor, they'll tear out the old tub and build a new walk-in, wheelchair friendly shower.

"We're going to move the toilet down, move the vanity down and and make that a four foot by five foot handicapped accessible shower, which will actually drop down below the floor. So, she won't have to go over a lip or anything," said Wright.

Margaret Jones and her son have lived in the modest home for 19 years. DeMario has been unable to work since losing his leg, and recently applied for Social Security disability. Margaret Jones receives $1,200 a month in disability. She called WATE, desperate for help, but wasn't asking for a hand out - just maybe somebody to modify her home, especially in the kitchen where it isn't easy to grab a can of food.

Area businesses have said they'll donate a kitchen sink and plumbing supplies.

"I'm going to lower the kitchen cabinets where she can function in the kitchen because she can't get anything out of the upper cabinets," said Tony Scott.

"Everybody kept telling me, she was the friendly lady at McDonald's. How could you not want to help this person?" said Margaret Jones.

Both Scott Wright and his brother once worked for Margaret Jones at the McDonald's in Oak Ridge.

"When i had my legs and I worked at McDonald's. I gave everybody a chance. I was the type of manager who worked right beside them. I feel like the people helping me is giving me back," she said.

Construction on Margaret Jones's home will begin October 23 and will take about a week or more to complete.

"I want them to have a good life, a happy life like all of us do right now," said Sullivan.

"They're spending their time to come in my house and do this, I'm grateful. I'm being blessed from these guys. Thank you, thank you," said Margaret Jones.

It's estimated $2,500 will be needed to finish the projects of widening doorways, building the wheelchair-friendly shower and modifying the kitchen. So far, half that money has been raised and Sullivan is optimistic more people will help financially. Donations are being handled properly by the Jackson Square branch of Pinnacle Bank in Oak Ridge.

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