The 2010 Winners

The Carver Family and the Frost Family

Deserving Design in Deep River

On Christmas Eve, the DesignWish Team announced both the Carver Family and Frost Family of Deep River as the recipients of our 2010 complimentary room makeover! After considering more than twenty nominations, the DesignWish Team was agonizing over their top two choices, two families who both tugged at our heartstrings. Much thought and discussion brought us to wonder, “Can we reach out to more than one family this year?”  Upon realizing that both families live within a short distance of each other, we realized it was no coincidence why we were unable to decide between the Carvers or the Frosts. It was fate’s call that we honor both families as our DesignWish 2010 recipients.

As you read the following nomination letters written by family friends, we hope you will be touched by the stories of these two beautiful families.

Nomination Letter for the Carvers
by Stella Beaudoin

I would like to nominate my friend Maura Carver and her family for a DesignWish room makeover.  The Carvers live in a turn-of-the-century village home in Deep River.  Maura would love to update her house but the financial constraints of being a single mother will not allow it.  Although the walls may be in need of a coat of paint and the furniture is worn, the house overflows with love, happiness, hope and music.

It isn’t just for financial reasons I wish to nominate Maura, but because of her passion for helping others and teaching her children the same.  Maura, Cody and Grace have been volunteering in our community and beyond for some time.  Through involvement with their church (Deep River Congregational), they serve dinner at the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, serve home cooked meals at the Eddy Shelter in Middletown and have worked on various service projects at Kirtland Commons, the town’s elderly housing apartment building.  Last winter the Carvers worked with Midnight Run, a volunteer organization that brings food, clothing and human connection to the homeless street people of New York City.  Although it was bitterly cold and in the overnight hours of NYC in February, the Carvers have also left the comfort of home to help others in oppressive heat as well.  In July, Cody traveled with his church youth group to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding effort. With the team, Cody helped rebuild the houses of 3 families devastated by Katrina, learning real construction skills.  A week later, Maura and Grace traveled to the Dominican Republic as part of a medical mission team.  The team brought traveling medical clinics to destitute “bateyes,” sugar cane villages inhabited by Haitian cane cutters and their families.  Maura described stepping off the ramshackle school bus by which they traveled and feeling as though she had stepped into a “Save the Children” commercial.  Grace was the only teenager on the trip and earned the deep respect and admiration of the entire team for her compassion and determination to make a difference. Maura took on a second part-time job to pay for hers and Grace’s airfaire for this trip.

This July, Maura and children will travel to the Dominican Republic.  Mission work does not come cheap. Maura, Cody and Grace will raise $4,500 for the trip’s cost, leaving little left to redecorate the family room in their house.  Cody and Grace are both excellent students and extremely talented musicians. Maura would love to redo the space to accommodate a piano that has recently been given to the family.

People ask Maura why she feels compelled to give to others when her own bank account balance is so low. She answers by saying, she is a human being and if she were in need, her gift of giving will come full circle.  I would love for Maura, Cody and Grace to have something nice done for them. The Carvers have provided so many with happiness and hope. They have touched so many lives.

Nomination Letter for the Frosts
by Melissa Symonds-Alsback

The Frost family is amazing and it is all due to Mary Frost and her strength and resolve as a mother and wife.   Eric works in sales for a leading animal toys company and Mary is a real estate attorney.  Mary and Eric are the parents of Isabella, Ava and Cody.  Sweet Bella, 6, was born with Down’s syndrome and has undergone heart surgery as a toddler and numerous other procedures I’m not even aware of, all associated with her diagnosis. Ava is a wonderful protective 4 year old with great imagination and love of people, and Cody is their baby boy and will turn 2 in February.  A few months ago Cody began having fevers without cause and eventually seizures that lead to a stroke.  After multiple trips to various doctors here in CT and Boston, Cody was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Moyamoya disease.  This disease blocks the blood flow into his brain basically starving his brain of blood and oxygen. Without corrective surgery he would die.  The disease is progressive and deemed fatal without some sort of intervention. Cody had an aorta transplant in Boston and today is living with the disease.  One side of his circulatory system was repaired and now the family waits for the signs that the other side is failing.  They try not to live waiting for Cody to have a seizure and enjoy their lives with their children, but it is a daily thought that this could be the day Cody has a seizure or stroke.

Mary is a phenomenal mother who put her career on hold to stay at home with Bella, then Ava and now Cody.  In addition to taking care of her own children she frequently helps me out by taking care of both of mine whenever I need her.  She is the name on my daughter’s school form to call in an emergency if we are not available because she is that dependable and trustworthy.

They live modestly in a cute little bungalow/cottage type home in Deep River.  Having to pay a lot of their children’s medical expenses out of pocket and raising three children on one salary means home décor and style has been put aside.  When I read the call for nominations I immediately thought of Mary on her hands and knees sanding her kitchen cabinets in order to paint them cream colored to brighten up her kitchen.  She is so deserving of some style in her home – her living room/dining room area is simple and all about the kids and I believe that with professional help it could be beautiful and organized just the way Mary likes.  Mary has so much style, grace and inner beauty throughout the challenges with her children, of which two live with chronic medical conditions.  Please choose Mary to get this very deserving room makeover for she is most deserving.

A heartfelt thank you…

to all the caring individuals who took the time to nominate someone. It is so reassuring to know there are so many wonderful people thinking of those in need during this holiday season. We heard touching stories of several single moms struggling to provide for their children both financially and emotionally. We heard of men, women, and children faced with extreme challenges due to chronic illnesses or disease. We also heard stories of several giving individuals who are a constant source of strength and inspiration to their families and communities. It was a privilege to read the stories of these remarkable human beings. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.