A Foothills man was all smiles as he stepped into his new home on Monday, shortly after it was moved onto his lot on Frontenac Avenue in Turner Valley.
Willi Craciun toured the 1,080-square-foot bungalow, worth about $30,000, which was donated by McCann’s Building Movers in Calgary, along with the cost of the moving permits, after the 65-year-old man lost his home to a fire last fall.
On Nov. 5, Craciun’s mobile home caught fire with his wife Elly inside. Although neighbours pulled Elly, 81, from the blaze she suffered severe burns to her arms and back and passed away from her injuries three weeks later in the Foothills Hospital in Calgary.
Craciun has been living with his neighbour in the meantime and was excited to see the arrival of his new home, which should be ready for him to move in within two months.
“I can’t believe it, it’s been amazing,” he said. “I walked through the house with my little dog and she even found a ball in there. I was walking through and thinking of all I want to do with it.”
McCann’s act of kindness was among many Craciun experienced since the November incident.
The Foothills Lions Club set up two trust funds in his name, donations of clothing and furniture were
collected in the town office and companies in Calgary and the foothills covered the costs of excavating his old home, landfill fees to dispose of the home,
electrical hook-ups, building the foundation and
cutting down trees in his yard to make room for the bungalow.
Debbie Werschner, who works at Hell’s Half Acre Campground in Turner Valley and knows Willi well from his volunteer work with the Foothills Lions Club, watched as the house moved onto the lot.
“It was really hard losing Ellie and worrying about him,” she said. “It will be nice to have him back in his own place.”
Werschner said she and her son Dallas spent two weeks with Craciun cleaning the yard and preparing it for the arrival of the house.
McCann’s Building Movers co-owner Pat McCann originally planned to move the house on Jan. 4 but rescheduled due to poor weather conditions.
The crew hit the road in the early hours Monday morning to ensure it was off Deerfoot Trail by 5:30 a.m., as is required by City of Calgary bylaw.
McCann said his decision to donate the house has received a lot of attention.
“Our website and Facebook has attracted quite a bit of interest,” he said. “The media are all over me like a dirty shirt.”
McCann said some people have even commented what a nice gesture it was.
McCann’s employees shared his generosity as well.
“My employees said, ‘We will work for free,’” he said. “That’s a huge deal.”
The house arrived in Turner Valley before sunrise and once there was enough daylight the crew got to work putting it in place.
Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck said she is ecstatic to see everything come along for Craciun.
“After everything he has gone through he will be back to his own environment, his own home,” she said. “You will see a little pep in his step.”