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Volunteers help struggling Belvidere North para fix dilapidated garage

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — For years, Michele Bennet's garage was falling apart. But the Belvidere North High School para didn't have the $6,000 needed to fix it up.

"I make $14,000 a year for anyone who cares to know I would have never been able to (fix it)," Bennet, who lives in Rockford, said.

Bennet said she was cited multiple times with code violations by the city of Rockford and told to fix the crumbling structure. She confided in a former pastor about her struggles and before she knew it, her prayers for help were answered.

"I just thought those of us working with her ought to try and help her," said Don Dexheimer.

Dexheimer , with the help of some of Bennet's Belvidere North High School colleagues, got the proper permits to tear down and replace Bennet's garage.

"I was afraid to go inside and look and see how bad it was because I could see the roof hanging down. It was really dangerous," said Dexheimer.

Wooden beams meant to support the roof of the garage were dangling from the ceiling. Insulation was exposed and there were multiple holes in the walls and roof. Bennet's not sure how much longer the garage would have stood on its own.

"It's nice when the neighbors and your friends, people you didn't even know that well 'cause we work together but I don't know them personally, and it's just really overwhelming," Bennet said of getting a new garage.

The group planned to tear down the garage on Monday. It hopes to have the new garage finished soon.

If you would like to help contribute to Bennet's new garage, you can send a check to Grace United Methodist Church in Rockford or CLICK HERE to use the church's E-Giving website.

Kristin Crowley

Evening News Anchor
Kristin Crowley anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news. She is also a reporter for 13 Investigates. She brings more than a decade of experience to the newsroom. Her work at WREX has earned her multiple awards including a regional Edward R. Murrow for Investigative Journalism and three regional Emmys.

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