2015 Colson Renovation

Elderly Sisters Reunite in Their Newly Renovated Home October 30th

Tallahassee, FL – Donors and partners of the Tallahassee Builders Association (TBA) Builders Care – an initiative to assist needy families with home safety repairs – recently completed a sixth month renovation project for three elderly sisters. An “official” welcome home was held on Friday, October 30 at 11:30 am when the keys were presented to the reunited sisters by Builders Care.

“We are very excited about Builders Care and especially this project,” said Alan Weekley, TBA President and owner of Alan Weekley Homes. “TBA members are industry leaders and this project gave us the opportunity to show the community that leadership.”

The sisters – Tillie Searcy Colson (94), Autie Searcy McCallum (95) and Margaret Searcy Hammell (90) – grew up in Tallahassee between a home on Gaines and this home on Raa Avenue.  They spent most of their lives raising their families here in town and all three sisters held jobs with a variety of departments at the State of Florida including Ms. Autie with over 37 years with HRS.

The 47-year-old home, once owned by their parents and now in the estate of Tillie Searcy Colson, had a lot of maintenance issues including leaking pipes and roofing; non-working appliances and cabinets as well broken windows and dry rot among many floor joists.  The home sat empty for over 8 years as the sisters moved in with other family members or at times into rehabilitation centers.  The continual water damage and closed up home caused additional mold and rotting drywall which was falling in the kitchen, living room and bathrooms.  General Contractor Sonny Phillips, H.R. Phillips lead the renovation with the help of over 40 subcontractors, volunteers and suppliers. From the roof to the floor joists the home has received a complete makeover and is now a safe, healthy home with energy efficient windows, new appliances and new roof.

“This is just going to relieve so much stress for her and her sisters,” said Margaret’s son-in-law, Paul J. Califano. “This is truly special and an amazing gift.”

Builders Care was organized early 2015 by the TBA to provide affordable or no-cost building services for families in need. Membership in Builders Care includes TBA leadership, associates and executive board members. Sonny Phillips, H.R. Phillips, Inc. spearheaded the Raa Avenue renovation which is the first project for Builders Care. Over 40 local businesses were involved in making this project a success. “None of this would have been possible without the amazing overflow of materials and labor donated by these businesses. The overwhelming outpouring reflects the true spirit of our local builders and their commitment to our community,” said Sonny Phillips.

“While the Raa Avenue project has been exciting and rewarding for our members, it grew to be very ambitious. Our vision moving forward is to provide building services such as roof repairs, wheelchair ramps, and most small safety repairs and installations so that we can spread our resources and reach a larger part of the community,” said Vicki O’Neil, Chair of Builders Care and marketing director at the City of Tallahassee Gas Utility.

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