When Brent Burger found out that a family of 10 would soon be homeless, he knew he had to help -- so he bought their house back for them to live in. Just what anyone would do, right?
Earlier this summer, Karen Champagne, of Fairfield, Maine, came face to face with every homeowner’s worst nightmare: An eviction notice.
Wracked with debt since her husband’s death four years ago, the mother of nine children wasn’t able to make her last mortgage payment. As a result, it looked like the family would be forced out of their home.
But thanks to the overwhelming efforts of local businessman Brent Burger, Champagne and her kids won’t end up homeless after all. When Burger read about the family’s sad saga in a local newspaper, he knew he had to help.
“Sometimes you think, ‘I should have done this’, or ‘I should have done that’,” he told the Kennebec Journal. “I didn’t want this to be one of those situations where I looked back and I thought, ‘I wish I had done something for those people.’”
So Burger did help, in a big way: He bought the repossessed house back with $78,000 of his own money, which Karen Champagne will repay over time.
“Brent is a wonderful man,” said Champagne. “Sometimes I think he is an angel, and with all of this happening, when it’s done, he’s going to—poof—disappear, because it’s hard to imagine a normal person doing all he has done.”
Now, Burger is hoping that the local community will follow his own amazing example, and chip in to make the family’s run-down house a little bit more livable. In a grassroots version of Extreme Home Makeover, Burger is calling on all his neighbors to donate labor and money for building materials to overhaul the struggling family’s home. The renovation, set to take place between September 21st and September 29th, has been dubbed, “Nine Days for Nine Children.”
During the overhaul, Burger and the other volunteers will install a family room in the basement, re-roof the house, update the kitchen, and most importantly, add another bathroom (need we remind you, nine kids!). Dozens of local volunteers have already signed up for the nine-day work fest. With no cash reward, or even the possibility of a brief claim to fame, it may seem strange that so many would offer to help a family they don’t even know. But we’re betting the smiles on those children’s faces as they walk into their new-and-improved home will be the greatest reward of all.