2012-11-22 / Front Page

‘Operation Storm Norm’ shows Elma at its finest

¦ Resident receives surprise home makeover
by CATHERINE COLMERAUER
Editor


Keith Wittenrich, left, pours concrete with the help of Chuck Jackson, while Bob Dollman, left rear, and Ken Murcin get ready to step in with shovels to assist during the “Operation Storm Norm” project in Elma. 
Photo by Daniel RosatiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Keith Wittenrich, left, pours concrete with the help of Chuck Jackson, while Bob Dollman, left rear, and Ken Murcin get ready to step in with shovels to assist during the “Operation Storm Norm” project in Elma. Photo by Daniel RosatiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com A wave of more than 100 volunteers clad in orange shirts converged on South Blossom Road Friday evening to help a neighbor in need.

The event signaled the kickoff of “Operation Storm Norm,” a two-week home renovation project for Norm Reformat of Elma. The repairs, which are expected to total $25,000, include new ceilings, floors, bathrooms, drywall and a hot water tank.

The Town of Elma has waived all building permit fees for the project, and area fire departments are expected to have rescue teams stationed at the site.

“Norm’s the kind of guy that has always been there for people in the community,” said Pete Andrews of Christian Youth Corps. The Delevan based service group is leading the renovation, along with volunteers from Crossroads Christian Church and additional supporters throughout the community.


Bill Marshall energizes the volunteers that came out for Operation Storm Norm. 
Photo by Daniel RosatiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Bill Marshall energizes the volunteers that came out for Operation Storm Norm. Photo by Daniel RosatiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com “What a great person to help out in the time he needs it the most,” Andrews said.

An IRR Supply salesman and plumber, Reformat enjoys working with his hands and frequently helped others with their home improvement projects. Ironically, he volunteered in a past Christian Youth Corps home renovation project, repairing a house for a man suffering from cancer.

Reformat bought his house on Blossom Road with plans to remodel it, but he never got the chance.

His health began to deteriorate in 2008, culminating in a kidney and pancreas transplant this year.

“We have watched him for the last few years suffer with his kidney ailment,” said Tom Reid, who attends Crossroads Church with Reformat. “His house is down to bare studs on some of his walls, and there is insulation hanging from the ceiling. He just didn’t have the strength to finish it.”

Now Reid and his children are among many families who will be helping on site over the next two weeks.

People of all skill levels are encouraged to stop by and help. For those who do not want to aid in the construction, volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve meals and clean up.

Small groups of volunteers will also help others on the street, raking leaves and sprucing up lawns.

Donations have been pouring in, said Bill Marshall, a friend of Reformat and the general contractor in charge of renovations.

Buffalo Crushed Stone donated concrete for a new patio, Hamburg Overhead Door gave an insulated garage door, closets were donated from California Closets, and Mountain View Builders provided gutters. Yet these are only a small portion of the businesses and individuals who stepped up to help when they heard of Reformat’s plight.

“I have gotten checks for $1,000 from people who can’t afford to give that kind of money,” said Marshall, who noted that the outpouring of support is a testament to Reformat’s character.

“He’s always so busy doing stuff for people, he’s always there to lend a hand,” said Marshall of Reformat. The two met when they volunteered to help build Big Daddy’s Refuge coffee house in East Aurora.

Marshall said he and Reformat surpassed expectations by finishing the drywall in only one night.

“We survived on Snickers bars and coffee,” said Marshall, laughing. He relieved the fond memory with Reformat when he visited him in the hospital last week.

Though the initial plan was to surprise Reformat with “Operation Storm Norm” at his house on Friday evening, Reformat remains in the hospital with what appears to be a blocked stent.

Instead, Allegheny Productions will film the entire renovation process for Reformat to watch from his hospital bed.

“He’ll be so overwhelmed and excited,” said Reformat’s 17-year-old son, Josh, who is also touched by the community’s support.

“It’s kind of shocking, I never would have expected this,” he said.

Yet “Operation Storm Norm” is a gift to the volunteers as much as it is to Reformat, said Andrews.

“It is a blessing for these volunteers to be able to make a difference in someone’s life,” he said.

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