RUMFORD — Mary Ann Schlear praised the Lord repeatedly on Friday while two Lewiston-Auburn area housing rehabilitation crews rebuilt sections of her house.

The 50-year-old house at 1236 Route 2 has new windows, a new bathtub surround, new light fixtures, a whole new roof, leveled floors in the bathroom, kitchen and dining room, a new back wall, a new bulkhead door to the basement, which was also redone, a new hot water heater and plumbing pipes, floor support beams and more.

“I’m ecstatic!” Schlear said Friday. “I’m very much thankful to God and all the people that made this happen. I received far more than I ever thought possible. All are an answer to prayer. Praise the Lord!”

It wasn’t an “Extreme Makeover” project. Instead, Schlear said Messianic Pastor Carl Cutting of Mexico suggested she apply to Rumford, which had received a Community Development Block Grant grant to rehabilitate low-income housing.

In January 2012, Cutting and a Maine church crew raised almost $1,000 and helped make the house livable for Schlear and her daughter Alana, who is in her mid-30s.

Mary Ann Schlear works as a housekeeper for Grant’s Kennebago Camps in Rangeley.


Schlear applied for grant money this year through Rumford, and Community Concepts, which is administering the CDBG grant, hired BIOS Environments to do the work.

According to its website, BIOS is a Maine-owned company that employs specialists with more than 20 years of combined experience in industrial hygiene, environmental and asbestos/lead contracting services.

Derek Saxon of Bowdoin and BIOS said Friday that the BIOS crews have been in Rumford since February, rehabilitating low-income housing. They’ve spent four weeks fixing up Schlear’s house.

“It needed a lot of work,” Saxon said. “Every time we opened up something, there was something new. It’s been quite a project.”

A large Dumpster beside the house on Friday was full of Schlear’s deteriorated house materials.

Saxon said two BIOS crews worked together on the Schlear house on Friday and expect to finish by the end of July.


“Their manager said these boys did above and beyond what they were supposed to do, and I said I believe it,” Schlear said. “I am thankful for everything they’ve done.”

Saxon said they are always told that a job is simple, as in five minutes here, five minutes there.

“You know, we’ve got to make it right,” he said. “We work for the government all over the state and we do a lot of low-income work.”

It takes his crew 90 minutes each day to drive to Rumford to work 10-hour days, Saxon said. When they finish their work on the Schlear house, their next 20 jobs are in Waldo.

When the BIOS workers first arrived, he said he was surprised that the house’s rear wall was still standing.

“We went to put a new window in, but we had to replace the whole wall,” Saxon said. “You could have ran through the back wall. It was really that bad.”


“We put a whole new roof on, and the basement was pretty much flooded, so we put 3/4-inch crushed rock down there to weigh down the plastic, some EPDM, which is thick plastic,” he said.

“We had to put a new support beam down in the basement — all the floor joists were cracked, and I think habit was just holding them together, holding the floor up — and all new windows.

“It’s nice to see a program like this for people who can’t afford it,” Saxon said of the CDBG grant program. “It helps them out substantially.”

As the crews stopped work for the day, Schlear thanked them all, calling them God’s answer to prayer.

“They put their hearts into it,” she said. “They saved our home is what they did, in essence. The worst part is gone, and the best remains. This is a wonderful, unexpected conclusion to the ‘miracle story.'”

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