By Liam Martin

WESTFORD (CBS) – Some are neighbors helping neighbors, while others are strangers lending a hand to a Westford family in great need. When elementary school principal Kevin LaCoste was paralyzed in a freak accident, a group of volunteers with their hearts exactly in the right place, decided to make a difference.

Against great odds, they decided to make his family’s house fully wheelchair accessible in time for his homecoming.

“A lot of us have had tragedy in our lives, and sometimes you just want to help,” said lead contractor Joe Muzykoski, a volunteer with the renovation project.

Construction underway at Kevin LaCoste’s Westford home (WBZ-TV)

Helping is exactly what they’re doing at the LaCoste family’s modest split level in Westford.  Last July Kevin LaCoste was playing with his two children when he fell from a tree.

In that split second his life and his family’s was forever altered.

“We hope and pray every day that something will change.  But right now, he’s paralyzed from the shoulders down,” said Nancy Cook, the project manager.

Kevin LaCoste (Family Photo)

Nancy’s grandson goes to the Robinson Elementary School in Westford where Kevin LaCoste is the principal. “When Kevin got hurt my grandson says ‘Nanny we have to do something to help Mr. LaCoste.’ So that’s what we’re doing. We’re doing something to help Mr. LaCoste,” she said.

Realizing that Kevin would need to be able to move around his home in a wheelchair, Nancy and others got to work. “I put it on Facebook that we’re looking for contractors and the phone has just rung non-stop. There’s probably a hundred people who have volunteered in some capacity,” Nancy said.

They’ve ripped apart the inside of the house, widening doorways, starting an addition and making everything wheelchair accessible. Building materials have been donated and volunteers have put their own jobs on hold to do this crucial work.

Kevin LaCoste’s Westford home (WBZ-TV)

“I’m helping out in every respect from construction to demos to cleanup.  Whatever they need me to do I’m doing it,” said volunteer Mike Oakes, Nancy’s son.

But it’s a huge job that would ordinarily take six months. They’re tackling it in four weeks.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has been 100% on this and getting the job done,” said Matt Waterman, another volunteer.

The hope is that Kevin comes home next month to a new reality. “I just want them to feel like they’re at home. Obviously this is a tragedy, what happened to Kevin.  But out of this the best in people is being shone,” said volunteer Jamie Holmes.

They’ve been fundraising to be able to buy what’s not being donated and still need about $30,000.  And they hope someone will donate a generator to the project so the house can have back up power.

If you’d like to help to the house renovation project, donations can be sent to:

Kevin LaCoste Building Fund
Jean D’Arc Credit Union
196 Littleton Rd.
Westford MA, 01886

A GoFundMe page has also been set up.

A trivia night fundraiser will also be held at Clark’s Pub at the Westford Regency on October 17th to raise money for the house renovations.  It runs from 4-8pm.


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