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Contractor surprises Amherstburg widow with free renovation

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While his crew was building a house on the lot adjacent to Aurelia Hudson's modest Amherstburg residence, Walter Branco says he would often see the elderly widow struggle to get up and down her rotting porch.

"I never saw anyone come around to assist her, so once we finished the project next door I felt I had to go back and make it right for her," said the owner of Noah Homes.

Branco, along with ten of his employees, surprised Hudson last week by replacing the unsightly — and unsafe — porch free of charge. They also built her a back deck and replaced her roof.

"It just seemed to be the right thing to do," Branco said. "When someone needs help, you step in and get things taken care of."

Although he offered to pay his crew, Branco says they all chose to volunteer their time. In addition, some of Branco's suppliers, including Kimball Building Supplies and T-Murr Exteriors chipped in for the necessary materials.

"It was a group effort all around," he said.

Branco first met Hudson when his company was having difficulty convincing residents on Dot Street to let them tap into their electrical power. Hudson was the only one to agree. Branco paid her $50 in compensation, but when the project was over, he says she contacted him and offered to return some of the money.

"She's just a sweetheart, so honest and humble," Branco said.

Although Metro was unable to reach Hudson on Thursday, Branco said his crew's efforts moved the 80-year-old woman to tears.

"She just kept coming outside and was ready to cry," he said. "When she saw us all there she said we were like angels from heaven."

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