Selection of the Droneburg Family
The Droneburg family, residing in the City of Brunswick in the western part of Frederick County, was selected as the recipient of the first Maryland Home Makeover™ in tribute to Darrell Droneburg’s generous service to others. He died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on May 11, 2007 at the age of 45.
Darrell was one of the most valuable and respected city employees in the history of Brunswick. While working for the Public Works Department, he was recognized for his ability to operate equipment, repair infrastructure and deal with the thousands of unanticipated little problems. His love and duty for the people of the community was his utmost priority. He never said “no” to a request, be it from a business owner, homeowner or church. Examples of his enormous talents are evident throughout Brunswick, but many are invisible, known to the many people who counted on him for service and maintenance in the middle of the night or on a weekend or City holiday.
Darrell was an active volunteer in the Little League baseball program, from coaching to helping repair the playing facilities. He helped coach the All Star teams and lead several teams to regional play, always stressing the importance of having fun over anything else.
One of Darrell’s most memorable and patriotic gestures was to decorate his truck in the colors of our Nation’s flag and to letter it with the names of all the young men and women of the Brunswick area who were serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. His truck was featured at a number of events to honor these ‘Hometown Heroes’ and the sight of the red, white and blue truck became a source of great comfort to the families and a source of immense pride for the City.
Darrell was a devoted husband and father. Although he was often helping others, he was dedicated to his family: Norma, his wife, DJ, his son and Michelle, his daughter. When Norma’s mother, Jane, lost her home in January 2007, she joined their family circle as well.
Darrell’s generosity for his community clearly exceeded his ability to deal with his own needs. He was quick to lend a helping hand when called upon and to assist others with repairs on their homes, but his own house was neglected as a result. He had many plans for remodeling and improvements, but they remained unaccomplished at the time of his death.
Now, his dreams for his home and his surviving family will be fulfilled through the commitment, appreciation and generosity of his co-workers, friends and community, partnering with Maryland Home Makeover™.
Construction Started Officially on September 24, 2007.
Bert Newcomer was selected as general contractor, proper insurance protection was established, and then grant funds and donations were sought. Several local businesses, like the Noland Company, contributed labor or discounted materials. Community volunteers and Ken’s Tree Service arrived to start clearing the overgrown brush and the trees that were in poor condition. The entire front porch was replaced because the original was unsafe. The front of the home was wrapped with vinyl siding for ease of maintenance. New soffets, gutters and downspouts were installed. Shutters were added for the finishing touch. The garage was wrapped in vinyl and a new shingles were added. A new concrete walkway was set. All of the outside work was designed to provide ease of maintenance for Norma.
At the same time, the interior was also being renovated. A new dual-zoned heating and air-conditioning system was installed by Middletown Valley Heating & Cooling. The kitchen was redone to include new drywall, flooring (Blue Ridge Floors), Cambria countertops, new cabinet hardware and upgrades for electric (Robert E. Wheeler & Son) and plumbing (Brown’s Plumbing). The main level laundry room was renovated into a combination full bath and laundry. The living and dining rooms were patched, trimmed and painted. Upstairs, the bedroom walls were repaired and painted, new closets were built, and the bathroom was totally rehabbed. The stairs were repaired with oak treads, in addition to new railings. With the new paint and Norma’s flair for decorating, the transformation was incredible.
During much of the four-month renovation period, the family was housed offsite, part of the time at the Frederick Residence Inn by Marriott, possessions stored on-site (Smart Box) and most of the pets were boarded at Sunchaser Kennels to allow the volunteers and many contractors to move forward.
The project dedication was held on the cold morning of January 15, 2008 with snow flurries adding a sentimental touch to that heartfelt day for the many people involved. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, as well as members and officers of the Maryland Association of REALTORS® were present. A number of Brunswick residents and town council representatives attended the ribbon cutting. Norma and her family have moved back into their home and are working on rebuilding their lives. “This project has done more for me than remodel my home”, Norma states. “It has helped to heal my heart and it has given me hope.” The family extends their appreciation to the Partnership for Housing Foundation and its MARYLAND HOME MAKEOVER™ Committee, the Maryland Association of REALTORS®, the City of Brunswick, the general contractor, and to all the volunteers and sponsors who gave their time, talent, and contributions to make this project a true community success.
Appreciation from Norma Droneburg
"Sometimes, there are events in a person's life that are so tragic that they lose hope. This project has done more than remodel my home. It has helped to heal my heart and it has given me hope. The people who have come here to help and those who have volunteered their time have shown me what a wonderful town [it is] that my family has called home for many years. They have shown me the love and respect that they have for my husband, and I will be forever grateful. The Partnership for Housing Foundation is doing so much more than rebuilding homes, they are rebuilding lives." - January 2008
Donated Labor (all or partial)
Randy Shores, Shores Construction
Robert E. Wheeler, electrician
Mark Ahalt, Middletown Valley Heating & Cooling
Brad Minnick, Brown’s Plumbing
J.D.Rock Custom Home Improvements
Harkins Builders (Cathy Vaughn, Chuck McCann, Dave Griffin, Dave Lamberson, Tom Capps, Wade Hughes, Walt Whitlow)
Materials and Other Donations
Blue Ridge Floors & Home Services, Inc. (Kurt & Susan Brown)
Smart Box Portable Storage (Nicholas Sage)
Brown’s Plumbing (Brad Minnick)
Damascus Veterinary Hospital (Pamela Armstrong, DVM)
Rentals Unlimited - Frederick
Stadler Nurseries (Lisa Stadler)
Home Interiors, Inc. (Iris Miller & Robin Turbin)
Diversions Publications, Inc. (Tom Gorsline)
John Michael Harrison, Esq.
84 Lumber – Brunswick (David Kline, Store Manager)
Key Sanitation (Bobby Clark)
Plamondon Hospitality Partners (Frederick Residence Inn by Marriott)
Sun Chaser Kennels
Ken’s Tree Service
Prestige Construction, LLC
Lowe's - Frederick
Dalton Ventures (Charlie Dalton)
Delegate Rick Weldon
Reverend Vicky Starnes
Maryland Home Makeover™ Committee: Bill Armstrong, Steve Fox, Ron Deem, Diane Derr, Rochell Brown, Lou Costanzo, Dale Ross, Fern Dannis, Kara Ardison