After a pool construction company left a disabled woman high-and-dry, another company heroically stepped in and completed the work free of charge.
The white knight is Jason Felty, owner of Jason’s Wholesale Spa and Pool, located in Granger, a small town in northern Indiana.
When Felty heard about the woman’s troubles, he felt compelled to help.
Joanne Slomski, a retired teacher who suffers from a disabling bone disease, originally paid Jeff Maurer, owner of Maurer Specialty Pools and Concrete, $50 thousand upfront for a new swimming pool.
She suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, has had more than 200 broken bones over the course of her life, and she hoped a new pool would increase her quality of life.
Instead, she was left with an unfinished pool and a lien on her house because Maurer never paid the subcontractor for the concrete.
In July, ABC news aired her story, in the hopes of getting the contractor to finish the job, and the story gained traction on social media sites. Her former students and community rallied around her.
That’s how her white knight caught wind of her difficulties.
“I’ve got an old friend, Irish Saunders, who works at Hoosier Tire in Lakeville,” Felty said. “He reached
Joanne Slomski and her new pool.
Photo credit: Michigan’s Problem Solver, ABC57 out to me and he said, ‘Hey, Jason, there’s something I think you want to watch on ABC57 News tonight. I think you might be interested in helping.’” After watching the story, Felty felt obligated to help out.
“I wish you can help everybody in the world, but you can’t. I think it was just her disability — her getting taken advantage of — waiting two years to get a pool,” Felty said.
Slomski was at work when she heard that Felty was going to finish the job, and she was overwhelmed with gratitude.
“Just completely luckily, no members or customers were in there,” Slomski said. But I completely started crying. Is this really, you know, happening? I mean, somebody like this in our community that stepped forward and is doing this just out of the kindness of their heart.”
There was a lot of work left to install the vinyl lined pool. With divots and sharp edges in the support, all imperfections required grinding down to prevent tears in the liner.
And eventually, Jeff Maurer contacted Joanne and got re-involved in the project, with Felty overseeing and contributing free equipment and labor. Slomski is grateful to her former students and community members who helped share her story.
“I tried to reach out to each student that made a comment and just tell them how special they were to me when they were in my class,” Slomski said. “Luckily, in my life, I’ve been able to forge a lot of amazing friendships and contacts with wonderful people.
And she said that Felty is at the top of her list of people to be thankful to because he totally transformed a negative experience into a positive outcome.