Several local building suppliers and contractors who are members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area's leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 48 years, are donating labor and materials to make things a little easier for a Milwaukee resident who has gone through two below-knee amputations in two years.
Randy Molex, 61, who also is a diabetic and undergoing dialysis treatment, is now able to utilize a power wheelchair, but his getting in and out of the house for doctor appointments is very difficult due to narrow doors and access to the street. When Molex’s wife, Carol, began making calls to get estimates for a wheelchair ramp from their front door to the yard, she was surprised at the anticipated cost. “Estimates were beginning at $6,000 to $7,000,” she said. “I didn’t know where we were going to get the money to pay for that.” Molex thought the ramp might not get built after all, when Carl Krueger Construction, Inc. told her they would do it for free.
“When our estimator, Joe Rathsack, told me about the circumstances surrounding this project, I knew it was something we needed to do,” said Krueger’s Diane Ausavich, a Certified Remodeler who also is the president of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc. “We decided that since the Molex’s have so many medical bills and associated expenses, the thing to do was to help them out.”
Rathsack, who is overseeing the project, enlisted Bliffert Lumber & Fuel Co, Milwaukee, and Weather-Tek Design Center, Inc., Brookfield, to donate materials, while Carl Krueger workers donate all the labor.
“I am so grateful,” Carol Molex said. “Carl Krueger Construction has given us hope. I just cry when I think about it, that there are people out there who care. I want others to know about the great people willing to do something and expecting nothing in return.”
She explained her husband’s problems began more than a year ago when he came home from work tired and running a temperature. About 10 days later, she noticed his foot was swollen, “but I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. But when helping Randy, who was still feeling sick, prepare for a shower, she noticed a portion of his foot had turned black. Rushed to the hospital, he was diagnosed with a sepsis infection resulting in the amputation of two toes and a three-week hospital stay for antibiotic treatment. However, his condition didn’t improve and a below-knee amputation on his left leg was recommended.
“We were shocked,” Carol said. “We are two very talkative people and we couldn’t say anything to each other.”
Almost a year post amputation, Randy’s recovery was not going well. His right foot had a persistent blister that wouldn’t heal, and he became ill to the point of drifting in and out of consciousness. Rushed to the hospital again, he was diagnosed with another sepsis situation and another amputation was recommended. But the Molex’s didn’t want to rush into it. Randy then became a patient at Kindred Hospital in Greenfield, which specializes in wound care. He responded to antibiotic therapy for awhile, but weeks later, his foot blackened again and he was showing signs of kidney failure. Amputation could not be put off any longer.
“We found a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Sing, at St. Luke’s,” Carol said. “He amputated Randy’s leg in February and it is healing well. St. Luke's really took care of us. The nurses and staff were wonderful and so helpful. They put us in touch with an amputee support group. We attended one meeting and other amputees followed up with us, visiting at the hospital and checking in with Randy at home. It has helped a lot.”
Although Randy’s recovery from his second amputation is progressing, he is a diabetic and is undergoing dialysis, a situation Carol hopes will run its course. “The surgeries and antibiotics were hard on his system. Doctors at first thought it might be temporary, but they are not sure now,” she said.
In the meantime, Carol is doing all she can for Randy, making sure he maintains his diet and helping to facilitate his mobility.
“My husband is doing better now, and cards and calls from co-workers have helped cheer him up,” she said. “The ramp will help get him outside and Carl Krueger is going to advise us on getting the inside of our home more handicapped accessible. After all he’s gone through, things are looking up.”
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI’s Remodeling Guide,” call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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