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Contractors volunteer to finish remodel for returning Marine after seeing CBS4 Problem Solvers report

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HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. — A group of small business owners stepped up to finish a family’s basement remodel project for free, just in time for their son as he returned home from service in the Marines.

Kristy Newgent contacted the CBS4 Problem Solvers earlier this year after she paid contractor Keith Clampitt $1,700 to do the remodel, and he didn’t return to finish the project. Prosecutors have since charged Clampitt with home improvement fraud and theft.

After seeing Newgent’s story on social media, three different local companies came together to donate labor and materials to finish the project.

“I felt bad because I said, ‘This isn’t why we contacted the news. I want it to stop. I want other people not to have to go through what we went through,'” Newgent said. “They said, ‘No, this is what our community is about. This is us coming together.'”

Duncan’s Exteriors and Home Improvement, Assurance Maintenance and Grammy’s & Me Painting and Staining all worked on the project, which took less than two weeks to complete.

“We just kind of took her under our wing after hearing her story, and what we wanted to do was help her,” said Duncan’s owner, Dwight Duncan.

“We didn’t do it to try to get any kind of recognition from anybody. We live in a small community out here, so it was all just kind of coming together to get things done for somebody who happened to have a bad circumstance,” Assurance Maintenance owner Brian Miller said.

Just as the project was nearing completion, Newgent’s son returned home from service in the Marines. The group remodeled the family’s basement as a living room and bedroom for him.

“These men and women put their lives on the line for us and for our freedoms, and the least we can do is help them have a nice place to live when they get back,” Grammy’s & Me co-owner Elizabeth Romine said.

“He still can’t believe it. He said, ‘Mom, this is a different place, completely different place,'” Newgent said.

Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams and PPG Paints also donated materials at low or no cost to help complete the basement. The owners of all three small businesses said they had bonded over the project, and it changed them in ways they didn’t expect.

“Overall, it was a great experience … for everybody in just meeting (each other). We’re now friends, we call each other friends now,” Grammy’s & Me co-owner Kathryn Hines said.

“When we get out of this (COVID-19 pandemic), we’re definitely going to have a big party over at our house, we’ve already all decided,” Romine said.

Newgent said her family was thrilled by the transformation and wanted to make sure all of the owners who helped them out received credit for stepping up to complete the project.

“My goal is, if we do ever get that (money) back, is to pay it forward,” Newgent said.

Charges against Clampitt remain pending. Before you hire a contractor, make sure to research their history through websites like the Better Business Bureau and search for past court cases by the owner’s name and business name on mycase.in.gov.

You can find more advice about hiring a contractor from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at the link here.

If you have a case you’d like the CBS4 Problem Solvers to consider, contact us at 317-677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.

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