Ron Jardon's home in the community of Lazear blends in well with the neighborhood. It's a quiet, close-knit community.
The school bus stops in front of the house, the post ofﬁce is within walking distance and the streets are safe to walk on. Jardon describes it as "Mayberry."
Al Rozman of Paonia calls Jardon's home, "Delta County's version of an extreme make-over. It has undergone an amazing, amazing transformation," said Rozman, who last year led efforts to bring the house up to code and turn it from "this old house" to a comfortable space for Jardon and his children. Through the efforts of numerous volunteers and businesses, as well as cooperation and assistance from several organizations, Jardon's old house became new again.
Jardon, a Paonia High School graduate and executive chef, spent almost a decade working in some of the top restaurants in Aspen. But because of health issues, he now lives on disability and under a very strict budget. Several years ago he married a local girl. They purchased a home, built in 1951 and vacant for almost two years, from her family.
"There were no codes back in the day," said Jardon. As a result, almost everything was outdated. Windows frosted on the inside in winter, plumbing leaked, there was only a shower in the bathroom, and the electrical system could handle only one utility at a time. Fortunately, the roof and siding were in good shape and the structure was sound.
They were planning a remodel and already working on small projects when their ﬁrst child, Lillian, was born 8 years ago. Two years later, Ethan was born. But the marriage didn't work out. Ron got custody of the children and the house. Money was tighter than ever. He had applied for public assistance, but had been denied more than once.
"By the grace of God," said Jardon, he knew Rozman through attending Paonia schools and Bible study classes with his children.
The two re-connected when Rozman was working on the Pitkin Mesa hydro system project. Rozman, who had obtained a grant to rebuild the system, knew his way around bureaucratic structures and recognized Jardon's needs. He began contacting local agencies and writing letters. In two weeks a crew of 30 people was at the house, ready to work.
With the help of Delta County's Pro Bono Legal Aid services, Jardon established eligibility for lending programs. Rozman negotiated for several months to "establish the parameters for an integrated, three-agency program which would assist the owner, family and volunteers" with the project.
Rozman called the inter-agency effort, which involved numerous businesses, volunteers, faith-based and humanitarian organizations, and family members, "the ﬁrst of its kind for Delta County."
Up to that point there had been so many challenges, said Jardon. But everything fell together. "My life of 10 years ended, and in three and a half months it started over."
Housing Resources of Western Colorado provided a "needs assessment" and on-site inspection, said Rozman. They determined eligibility for the Governor's Weatherization Rehab Program, which provided cellulose insulation in the walls and ceiling, an energy-efﬁcient furnace with ducting, an energy-efﬁcient side-by-side refrigerator, CFL bulbs, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The Delta Housing Authority provided a low-interest loan to bring the electrical system up to code. And Intrado, Inc., of Longmont, which in part provides 9-1-1 communications systems, brought in 18 people to work on the project.
Habitat for Humanity of Delta County provided additional labor and materials. Habitat's reputation and involvement attracted other vendors and volunteers into the project, said Rozman. And Habitat's Restore of Grand Junction and Montrose provided lighting and a new gas dryer.
They moved in with family members in late August 2012 and were back home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. "It amazes people that so much was done in such a short period of time," said Jardon. When it was done, the project cost about $68,000. Payments are very affordable, he said.
A whopping 7.5 tons of old plaster were hauled off, said Jardon. It took 20 days just to strip the building down to ﬂooring and studs so remodeling work could begin.
Workers uncovered some strange things hidden in the old house. In the wall behind a bathroom medicine cabinet with a small slot in back for discarding used razor blades was a pile of razor blades about 4 feet deep. And in the attic space was a tiny room set up as a Cold-War or post-WWII short-wave radio communications center, complete with WWII-era handbooks, radio equipment and wiring.
There were also some "gems," said Jardon, including center-cut cedar ﬂooring hidden below layer upon layer of carpet, padding and linoleum.
However, he said, "No Krugerrands."
The family had a lot of say in the decorating. Ethan is a huge Broncos fan. His room is painted in Bronco blue and orange, and two old Bronco blue gym lockers from the original Mile High Stadium provide shelving and storage.
Lilly loves animals. Her room has a big closet and window, is painted in bright colors, and is ﬁlled with stuffed animals of every kind.
Bright window treatments, custom made by women from the First Baptist Church, cover new energy-efﬁcient windows.
New furniture, lamps and ﬁxtures are found throughout the house. For the ﬁrst time the kids have a bathtub and real tile on the ﬂoor, which their dad put down. That was a challenge, said Jardon. "I never tiled before in all my life."
Ron Jardon couldn't be happier or more grateful. Now Lillian and Ethan can concentrate on more important things, like school and 4-H. "I couldn't do it without the Lord Jesus Christ."
It was a huge undertaking, and one he never wants to undertake again, although he still has small home projects he's working on. Said Jardon, "It's never-ending."blog comments powered by Disqus