Two Local Businesses Give Niagara Falls Veteran a Backyard Makeover

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Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


A local disabled veteran gets a backyard makeover thanks to the help of two local businesses.


Timothy and Colleen Degenhardt thought they did their homework when looking for a contractor to build an addition onto their home.

Timothy, a disabled army veteran, has health ailments that limit his ability to use his legs. As a result, the Degenhardt’s were looking to add a bedroom to the back of the house so that Timothy would not have to climb any stairs.

Unfortunately, a project that, at first, seemed quick and easy did not stay that way for long.

The “so-called contractor,” Kyle Edwards, who Colleen calls a “criminal” and a “thief,” took their money and left them with nothing but huge trenches in the ground. Some of which were at least two feet deep.

Degenhardt gave Edwards roughly $12,000 towards the project.

The Degenhardt’s filed in Small Claims Court seeking their $12,000 back, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Despite Edwards not showing up to court, the judge only entered a judgment in their favor for $5,000.

Timothy and Colleen found out the hard way that a judgement and collecting on a judgment are two different things. As a result, not one cent has been collected.

Niagara Falls City Councilman Ken Tompkins, who works at H.W. Bryk & Sons, was contacted by a neighbor and knew something had to be done.

Councilman Tompkins then spoke with Jeff Bryk, Vice President of the locally and veteran owned company, who offered to donate their time, resources, and services to help restore the backyard to a more usable state.

“With so much negativity in the world it feels good to give back,” said Mr. Bryk, “especially to a veteran.”

A crew spent the afternoon leveling and grading the backyard. Although the end result looks worlds better than it did to begin with, there is still much work to be done.

In addition to H. W. Bryk, KJ Smith Enterprises came and spread grass seed and hay over the area. In no time, the Degenhardts will have a new lawn in their backyard.

Local Niagara Falls attorney Nicholas D. D’Angelo, Esq., has offered to assist in obtaining a judgment for the remaining $7,000 along with collecting on the judgments pro bono.

“I think it is important for us all to do our part,” said D’Angelo. “This is a special community filled with people who are always willing to help others. I am just thankful to be in a position where I can hopefully make a difference for them.”

While the Degenhardt’s still hope for the addition, they do not have the money after being swindled by Edwards.

Despite having $12,000 stolen from them, the couple is thankful to Councilman Tompkins, H. W. Bryk, and KJ Smith Enterprises for giving them the ability to enjoy their backyard this summer.

If you’re a licensed contractor or someone who can assist with product or services, please contact Ken Tompkins at (716) 940-7092.


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots


Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett, RobShots

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