Scam turned into blessing for O’Hara

Marlys Good

About 18 months ago, Pat O’Hara, who lives north of Greybull on the Wyo-Ben road, needed new siding on her home. She contacted a siding company in Powell and gave them a down payment of $5,000. They came out, tore off the old siding, walked away and never went back. It is unknown who built the house, but there was no plywood under the siding – just insulation. No way could O‘Hara survive a winter in a home like that.

She went into the Greybull Building Center and talked to Scott Good. “We knew her; she had been in before.” She explained what had happened.  She explained her problem. With the loss of the significant down payment, and the siding torn off and not replaced, she wondered what she could do. Help was on the way. One of the first things done, knowing that winter was on the way and O’Hara would have a hard time keeping warm in a house that was anything but winterized, a local charity delivered two cords of wood, cut and split just right for her wood stove. She would be warm until the main problem could be solved.

Meanwhile, Darrell Cooper, well-known local contractor, went out and looked at the house to see what needed to be done to get it ready for siding. One of the first things he noticed was that the front porch was not stable enough to use. So he re-did some joists and fixed the deck to make it safe. 

Another problem noted on the way to new siding was that a door had been installed backward. It was soon replaced with a new door with glass so O‘Hara could see out of it and could safely get in and out of the house.

 They also saw there was a problem with the windows. They were not sealed tight.  Cooper brought it to the attention of Good, who put it out on Facebook along with the wholesale cost of new windows.

“Within three days we had about a dozen people, not all of them from this area, who paid for the windows. Ordering new windows was quick and easy; due to the pandemic, getting them delivered was pushed back from last fall to this spring. Now, thanks to Chad Yost, the windows are installed, and Chad has started on the siding; it is going up.”

Good said the response to the call for help was “overwhelming. I would say we had between 20-25 people kick in. We had checks from people in Colorado, Utah, Newcastle, Gillette, local businesses and individuals. Those checks, plus all the volunteer labor, made this all possible. We could not have done it without them.”

Good said when this all started about 18 months ago, “We were just looking for siding, some remedy for her problem. When it ends up, Pat will have a very good pre-finished siding, brand new windows, a new deck and a new door and the cost to her – zero.”

He emphasized that this is not something that will be done on a continuing basis. “This is a one-time shot,” he said.

As for O’Hara, she would never have dreamed that a scam that left her feeling helpless, would turn into a blessing of a warm, inviting home – thanks to the giving spirit of friends  known and unknown from this community and places far beyond.

We asked Pat what she was looking for when she made that initial trip to GBC.

She said that when the roofers walked away and didn’t come back, when she realized it was a scam, “I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. I just went in to see what it would cost to get siding for my house,” she explained. “Then when everything else was noticed – the deck, the door, the windows - I kept wondering how I could possibly pay for it.”

Pat said she had lived in Cody and in Grass Creek, but every time she passed through Greybull, she knew she wanted to live here. “When I saw that a place was for sale, a house and some acreage, I jumped at the chance. I thought I was in heaven.” While she was disillusioned with the con-artists, she has seen the true spirit of the town and community she first fell in love with. “I can’t believe it,” she said with a big smile when we talked to her Saturday. 

Chad was there putting siding on the front and right side of her house, almost apologizing that it was taking so long, but Pat would have none of it. 

She realizes how lucky she is. “God is good.”