Now that the Long Island community has voted, the top 5 finalists are moving on to the final round - in which our panel of judges pick the winner. The panel will choose their choice based on: the nominee’s story, their current landscape situation, and Above All Masonry's ability to help make a difference.
The community can now vote! The top 5 nominees with the most votes will then go to a panel of judges who will select the final winner based on: their story, their current landscape situation, and Above All Masonry's ability to help make a difference. We’ll then work with the winning family to create the design and then plan to complete the installation.
Since our last update on the Welcome Home Contest, the landscape construction work by the Above All Masonry Design and Outdoor Living team has come to an end! This year’s journey included crafting a beautiful driveway and walkway, paved with high-quality pavers by Unilock. Thanks to the unbeatable beauty and quality of the Unilock pavers, Ashley and her family can enjoy a freshly renovated outdoor area for years to come.
If you’ve been following our progress with this year’s winner of the Welcome Home Contest, you’ll know how excited we are to finally give Ashley and her family a delightful and practical front yard. In our last update, the Above All Masonry Design & Outdoor Living team replaced the massive, old bay window with a smaller, more stable one. The window was obstructing the use of the front porch. We are so that happy the large window that stood as a safety hazard for the entire family is now removed. Now, the new window looks like a part of the home!
Ever since announcing the winner of the Welcome Home 2017 Contest, we are proud to say that our hard-working teams are keeping up to speed with the project requirements. After careful inspection of Ashley’s outdoor porch, steps, and driveway, followed by multiple design ideas and teamwork, we have made some exciting progress that we want to share with you.
The time has come to select a welcome home 2017 winner!
- The judges -
Anthony Giaquinto - Astro Masonry
Joe Licata - Gino's of Nesconset
Rebecca Waltman - Ivy League School
Brian Kallmeyer - Unilock
Above All Masonry
THE JUDGES PICKED: ASHLEY VENTIMIGLIA AS THIS YEAR'S WINNER!
SEE THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON FACEBOOK HERE.
Finalist 1: Signore Family
Lis from Above All Masonry first went to visit the Signore Family of Miller Place. This family is trying to pick up the pieces after tragically losing their son, a beautiful 14 year old boy who was struck by a car while riding his bike. “Nico was the one who knew how to get me right in the heart” said Kim as she shared a memory of her son and how he would still at the age of 14 hug and kiss her. Nico was loved by all in his community. “He was the kid that would never leave others out…he played with everyone”.
The Signore Family have a space in their yard where Nico’s puppy had been buried. Nico loved animals and the family thought it would be a perfect space to honor Nico and help the family heal.
Finalist 2: Ashley Ventimiglia
Ashley Ventimiglia of Lake Grove is a young mother struggling with her health on a daily basis. All she wants is to be healthy enough to take care of her two young children. Ashley has been struggling with her health since August 2013 when she was hospitalized and diagnosed with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). From August 2013 through October 2013 she was in ICU.
The TSS caused sepsis of Ashely’s organs. She was intubated and put in a medically induced coma. While in this coma Ashley’s body was turning a dark purple, almost black. The pressers in her body were trying to keep the vital organs alive while killing off what was “not important” . Several toes on both feet had to be amputated and a portion of her forearm was severely damaged. She had to deal with this realization upon waking from her coma still fighting for her life. Once stabilized she was transferred to a rehab facility from Oct - Dec 2013 to “learn” how to walk again. The doctors were able to save her big toes and that is what helps her keep her balance and still walk.
After all this her fight was not over. She has so much damage to her organs from the TSS she has since been hospitalized multiple times for surgeries or complications from the surgeries. Sometimes months at a time. In August of 2014 she had to have a Vagotomy (a surgery where they collapse your lungs and cut the vagus nerve right next to your esophagus and heart) in order to lower the production of acid in the stomach. She now has a central line in her arm for medications and fluids, a feeding tube and a 24 hour glucose monitor for diabetes.
Ashley has lost so much time with her 2 small children (now 4 and 7), all she wants is to be able to spend as much time as she can with her little ones. And be able to do some of the simple everyday things we all do. The healing space to them will hopefully be just that….a space where Ashley can heal and make up the time she has missed enjoying her children.
Ashley is scheduled to have another follow up surgery on her feet in the next few months. When she was asked what has kept her going through all she has been through, she answered “My kids…I have two babies and I will fight for them”.
Finalist 3: Kimberly & Rob Hanson
A story of the Hanson family, Kimberly, Rob and their 2 beautiful children, Kevin 12 years old and Katie 10 years old is a story of strength and survival. Kevin, who was born with a heart condition called Aortic Stenosis, and had a heart procedure to open up his valve, is a happy well rounded pre-teen. He will need to have another corrective procedure when he gets older and his body stops growing. Katie is a beautiful young lady very into the arts. Katie was diagnosed with a non malignant brain tumor at the age of 3. She received chemotherapy and the tumor is now stabilized. Although the tumor did leave her completely blind in one eye, that does not stop Katie from doing what she loves. She plays the cello and participates in productions in their local theater.
Kimberly (Mom) was cheery and grateful as she told her story of how she is now recovered from a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She said the strength her daughter taught her got her through her tough chemotherapy treatments. It's inspiring to see that after all they had been through, they are in a good and healthy place today. They would love a nice space to enjoy quality time as a family in their new dream home.
Finalist 4: Linda McMahon
A story of Linda McMahon of Holbrook and how she lost the love of her life is heartbreaking. She and her late husband Marty had been high school sweet hearts. They build their life together, raised their daughter, and were now preparing to enjoy their new grandchild. In 2010 the family was getting ready for Marty’s retirement party. Marty had been a volunteer firefighter for many years and was now ready to retire. The day before the party Marty passed a way from a heart attack.
The shock of Marty’s passing has caused a devastating sadness to the family. Recently Linda lost her job of over 20 years with Pathmark and due to back issues was forced to retire. The financial difficulties is just another strain on the extremely depressed Linda. She feels she can not keep up with the home on her own and their once beautifully landscaped yard looks sad and abandoned. Linda was hoping to use the healing space to honor her late husband.
Finalist 5: Daniel Kennelly
Kim and Daniel Kennelly's adorable 4 year old son Phillip was born with a rare liver disease called Biliarry Atresia (there is no full cure for this disease). At 8 weeks old, Phillip had surgery to temporarily fix the problem and was then put on a list for a transplant in 2015. In 2016 Phillip had a second GI Bleed and was in need of a transplant sooner than expected and the doctors suggested the family look into a living donor. Daniel volunteered to be the first one tested and he was a match! They both went in to surgery in May 2016 and have both recovered beautifully and are doing great. Phillip is a fun loving active little boy. It was thrilling to see how well he and his father Daniel were doing.
It is obvious that Daniel will do anything for his family no matter what he may have been going through himself. Last month Daniel’s brother and best friend lost a long battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma. His brother was a firefighter and a 911 first responder. They would love the healing garden to represent the new healthy future of their little Phillip as well as a place to honor Daniel’s late brother.
Submissions are now closed and our nominations are in for our 2017 Welcome Home contest! This year, we are choosing a family who is going through, or gone through, a recent tragedy / hardship in their life. For this well deserving Long Island family, we are creating a patio escape which will include a beautiful healing garden. We are honored to start getting to know and sharing stories about the nominees we’ve received. Every nominee has an heart-felt story to be told and their own reasons of how a new outdoor living space will transform their life. We are thrilled to be able to make one family’s outdoor living dreams come true again this year!
If you've read our previous update (check it out here), you'll know we're extremely anxious in transforming this Welcome Home 2016's winner backyard. We've now done pretty much all the hardscaping (thanks to Unilock for their beautiful pavers). See the update.
About about a month ago, the votes for Welcome Home 2016 came in and with 473 votes, Mark Pirollo won this year's Welcome Home Contest! Congratulations, Mark on your soon-to-be new backyard. We are so thankful to everyone who took time to submit their votes and thank you to all of the nominees and finalists. And of course, we're incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors who are helping to provide the many materials for this Long Island backyard makeover.
Nominations are in for a deserving Long Island family to win this year’s Welcome Home contest! Now that submissions are closed, we are honored to start getting to know and sharing stories about the nominees we’ve received so far. Every nominee has an incredible story to share and their own reasons of how a new outdoor living space will transform their life. We are thrilled to be able to make one family’s outdoor living dreams come true again this year! Stay tuned for notifications from us (follow us on Facebook and sign up to our email list). We’ll share updates with you – including when the voting for the finalists kicks off (planning for September 12!).
Above All Masonry is proud to announce the Third Annual Welcome Home Project, where we give away, every year, a landscape design makeover to a deserving Long Island family. Online nominations are now open through August 15th for this year’s Welcome Home recipients. Nominees should be Long Island residents that are community servants (current or former military, law enforcement, social workers, volunteers, teachers, or other service professionals), or families in need of a new landscaping project due to circumstances such as loss, disability, or natural disasters.
On November 20th, our Above All Masonry family unveiled our 2015 Welcome Home landscape design makeover! We were honored to be joined by members of the Massapequa community and our Welcome Home project partners to help the Cornell family cut the ribbon and celebrate their brand new backyard in Massapequa.
Our 2015 Welcome Home project is well underway! Last month, we ntroduced the Cornell, our Welcome Home family that will be receiving a landscape design makeover after losing their backyard during Hurricane Sandy. We hope to have the project completed just in time for the three-year anniversary of the hurricane later this month...and the Cornell kids already have plans to roast marshmallows in their new fire pit to mark the occasion!
Above All Masonry is excited to introduce our 2015 Welcome Home project recipients, the Cornell family of Massapequa, NY: retired NYPD officer Rich, special education teacher Anne, and their three children, Chris (19), Ryan (16), and Julia (12).
The Long Island landscape design team here at Above All Masonry is excited to announce that our Welcome Home community service project is continuing into its second year! Just like in 2014, we'll be presenting a deserving Long Island family with a landscape design makeover—only this time, we're asking for the entire community to help us select the recipients.
Online nominations are now open through July 1st for this year's Welcome Home family. Nominees should be Long Island residents that are community servants (current or former military, law enforcement, social workers, volunteers, teachers, or other service professionals), or families in need of a new landscaping project due to circumstances such as loss, disability, or natural disasters.
Whether it's a family with a disabled member that needs a handicap-accessible patio, a home devastated by Hurricane Sandy, or a hardworking public servant with little time or resources to do the heavy lifting, we would be honored to hear their stories. And yes, you can nominate yourself or a family member!
After nominations close on July 1, our team will select the top three candidates, and then ask the public to vote for a final recipient. We'll work with the selected family to create the design, and then tentatively plan to complete the installation this fall.
In 2014, Above All Masonry launched the Welcome Home program with combat veteran Jacob Wolf and his fiancee Leah Ottenbriet. Jacob and Leah are still enjoying the entirely new backyar we built for their home in Atlantic Beach, NY, including a paver patio with outdoor fire pit, a seating wall, a new stoop, landscape plantings, and outdoor lighting.
We're immensely honored to continue the Welcome Home program for its second year, and thanks in advance for helping make 2015's project possible by nominating a worthy family in need of a landscape design makeover! To nominate yourself or a deserving community member, fill out our 2015 Welcome Home nomination form.
On Monday, November 10th Long Island landscape design firm Above All Masonry hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the backyard makeover of the first annual Welcome Home project recipients, combat veteran Jacob Wolf and his fiancee Leah Ottenbriet.
Atlantic Beach mayor George Pappas, members of his staff, representatives from Hope For the Warriors, and Welcome Home donor partners joined Above All Masonry owners Stephen and Lis Bono at the ceremony to thank Jacob and Leah for their service and sacrifices.
"We have been so excited to share the results of the Welcome Home project with Jacob and Leah," said Lis Bono. "Their story really touched us, and now that Jacob is home for good, we're so honored to be able to provide a new backyard where he, Leah, and the rest of their family can really relax and enjoy time together."
For the remodel, Above All Masonry employees installed a paver patio throughout the entirety of the yard. The patio includes an outdoor fire pit with a seating wall, and Above All Masonry built a new stoop leading to the home's back door. Fresh landscaping plantings and outdoor lighting were also added around the perimeter of the yard.
Previously, the yard was only used for storage. "It [was] a real eye-sore and quite embarrassing...akin to the show Sanford and Son," Jacob said in an interview with Above All Masonry last month.
Jacob enlisted in the Army in 1992, and served many deployments in combat zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He suffered several injuries, many with lingering side effects, before finally retiring in 2013. "There was no grand homecoming, no fanfare. Just a quiet 'thank you', and I retired. A hug and a whisper in my ear from higher-ups that they really didn’t think I would make it out alive," Wolf told us.
At the Welcome Home reveal, Mayor Pappas spoke at the event, thanking Jacob for his service, and presented him with a certificate recognizing his service and contribution to the community of Atlantic Beach.
Above All Masonry also presented Jacob with a plaque on behalf of the Long Island community, recognizing his courage, heroism, and personal sacrifice during his service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror.
"The whole community really turned out to support our first Welcome Home project, and to show Jacob our gratitude for his service," said Bono. "We really want to thank Jake, the owner of Speakeasy in Long Beach for providing refreshments, Tim at the Dough Hut for the awesome donuts, and all of our donor partners for helping to make this landscape remodel possible."
Several Long Island landscaping companies contributed supplies and materials free of charge: pavers and wall stones from Unilock of Brewster; lava stone from MGO Stone of Islandia; landscape plantings from Garden Dept of Deer Park; masonry materials from Astro Masonry & Supply of Deer Park; and lighting fixtures from Kichler. Design services were provided by Designing With Elements of Bohemia, NY.