In November 2004, James Dolan of St. Petersburg, Florida made news because the unthinkable happened—a deranged man with a gun walked into the electronics store where he worked and opened fire. In fifteen seconds that would forever change the lives of the Dolan family, three people died, including the gunman, who had shot James in the head. Miraculously James survived, but without his eyesight.
James and his wife, Chrissy, have been together since they were teenagers, and were thrilled when they were able to afford to buy James’ childhood home to raise their own children. But money was tight, so James did what he thought was best for his family and took on a second job as a manager at the electronics store. Although the victim of a heinous crime, James is thankful that he’s alive and still able to be with his wife and children every day. At the same time he feels like he’s been failing them, no longer able to manage the upkeep of their home. James was naturally handy, and he enjoyed fixing up the house. But now everyday tasks like getting something to eat or drink, or turning on lights for his children have become difficult to accomplish. Bigger tasks—such as fixing the roof—are impossible.
The design team, homebuilder Lexington Homes, contractors and over 1000 workers and volunteers will overhaul the Dolans’ 1846-square-foot home in a just seven days. In its place will be a new 4,487-square-foot home with features that address James’ other senses, especially touch and hearing. As safety is a concern, elements like rounded corners on countertops will be incorporated.
While the renovation takes place, James, his wife Chrissy and their children—Charlie, 12, Haley, 6, J.T., 3—and Chrissy’s brother, Phil Yeager and his fiancée, Lauren Schneider, who have both been a source of support for the family—will go on vacation to the Westin Rio Mar Beach and Golf Resort in Puerto Rico.