Shoddy wall rebuilt by Bellevue neighbor in act of kindness

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 10:10 PM CST
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - An elderly Bellevue couple spent thousands of dollars on a retaining wall that ended up with shaky construction.

Living on a fixed income they couldn’t afford to have the job done right.

Inspecting his new $10,000 retaining wall in August, 91-year-old Korean War Vet Robert Smith maybe too old to fight but he’s still feisty.

“What do I think about it? I’m mad as hell,” he said.

Contractor Ramirez Remodeling didn’t pull the required permit and the Smiths couldn’t afford to rebuild the wall the right way.

“It would have fallen over,” said Sean McLaughlin, contractor, and neighbor who helped fix the wall. "It’s good, it makes me feel good. Gives me a chance to get out of myself and help others.”

McLaughlin donated labor and about $1,000 in materials to rebuild the wall. He saved the Smiths $4,000.

The wall was constructed incorrectly so Sean took it down and he can use the original blocks to save money. And before he started rebuilding, he pulled a permit from the City of Bellevue.

That’s important to the elderly couple’s daughter Sandy Sporven.

“Inspectors will be by to see what is being done and that it’s being done right. So I believe in my heart Sean is going to make this correct and make it right,” she said.

Sandy says the rebuilt wall relieves stress on the family because as her father’s health was failing -- everyone knew the wall wouldn’t fail.

“This is my angel. He’s sent there for a purpose and we love him," she said.

Texts and emails sent to the first contractor asking for a comment or refund have gone without response. So far Ramirez Remodeling hasn’t responded. The homeowner Robert Smith was told of the new wall just before passing away.

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