We’re looking back on some bright moments in a difficult year, and asked each member of our team to name a few of their favorite stories. This is one of A. David Dahmer’s.
For the past 16 days, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County has led an HGTV-like initiative with 25 area businesses chipping in to renovate and remodel a home for Irene Alexander, the great-grandmother of 11-year-old Anisa Scott, who was tragically killed in a shooting in August. The official unveiling, which was the product of weeks of hard work and multiple community partnerships, took place on Friday morning at Alexander’s house on Madison’s east side.
Family members and community members spoke before the official presentation that took place at 11:11 a.m. in honor of Anisa who died on August 13 at 11:11 a.m.
Volunteers renovated every room in Alexander’s home to support her for the holidays, flipping the house in just 16 days. Friday’s unveiling event was her first glimpse of the incredible transformation of the house she had lived in for 22 years.
This year has been especially tragic for Alexander, who also lost a nephew to a car accident in July, a brother on Labor Day, and her husband of 53 years to cancer on November 9.
Alexander’s daughter, Lorraine Gomez, said there were “no words that could truly express her thanks and the gratitude to the community in Madison.”
“All of these volunteers and all of the hard work … I am extremely overwhelmed,” she told the crowd that gathered outside of her mother’s newly renovated home on Friday. “After the loss of Anisa, I didn’t think that blessings existed … I thought that life was over for me. I just want to thank you guys so much. I don’t know how to thank you enough … all of that hard work that went into this. Mom is going to be extremely surprised when she sees this.”
The renovation was the brainchild of Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson, who heard about all of the tragedies that had happened this year in Alexander’s life and wanted to figure out a way to provide her with some level of comfort.
“I am so happy for Mrs. Irene and blown away that more than 75 people came forward and donated more than $120,000 in services to her house,” Johnson tells Madison365. “It was a wonderful feeling and given all the evil happening in the world today, it was a wonderful project to end 2020.”
Alexander has lived in her home on Madison’s east side with her husband and grandchildren for 22 years. She and her family have been staying at the Governor’s Suite of the Madison Concourse Hotel during the home renovation, courtesy of Steve Zinoni, the general manager of the Concourse Hotel.