By: Sharon Aron Baron & Carly Levy
A Coral Springs couple were not only faced with the challenge of caring for two children with muscular dystrophy, they did it while their roof was leaking above their heads.
Residents Stefan and Karin Schwarz’s live in Coral Springs with their sons Philipp, 25, and Peter, 24, who were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of seven. Recent heavy rains and flooding not only caused leaks, but created mold causing an odor in the house. Their neighbor Luz Levin, commander of the Coral Springs Civil Air Patrol, became so concerned about the conditions of their home that she made several phone calls, including to the city, to see if there was anyone that could help them.
John Famularo, president of ABC Roofing, was contacted by two Coral Springs employees asking if his company could help. He said his company does a charitable project every year, and after visiting the home, he felt this was a worthy one.
“For us to help, it’s great for us to do that, and it feels good.”
Both Stefan and Karin are originally from Ernsbach, Germany which is about an hour north of Stuttgart. Stefan is an engineer and Karin is a nurse. Stefan lost his job in 2014 and became unemployed for nine months. Now working again in his field, the family is still living paycheck-to paycheck. When the boys were young, Karin left her job as a nurse to care for them full-time. She primarily tends to them during the day and Stefan takes over in the evenings after work.
The family moved to Coral Springs in 2006 where Philipp attended Coral Glades High School and Peter went a year to Sawgrass Springs Middle School. Both graduated from Coral Glades High School and went on to attend Kaiser University where both hold an associates’ degree in video game design and Philipp went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Last April, both Philipp and Peter contracted pneumonia and have been in and out of the hospital. Stefan’s co-workers created a GoFundMe page where they have raised over $12,000 which was used to help to pay for hospital bills and necessary medical equipment.
The Schwarz’s were faced with yet another challenge when their 30-year-old roof needed to be replaced. The ceiling, which had leaks all over, left water dripping inside of the house. Philipp’s room was the worst when water damage made the ceiling brown.
Famularo visited Stefan and shared the good news that they would be getting a new roof free of charge. Karin, was in the hospital with one of the boys when her husband called her. “Guess what? We’re going to get a roof.”
“We were shocked,” said Karin. “We were shocked that the community comes together like this and helps.” Stefan said, “We were close to tears.”
Famularo worked with ABC Supply who began the process of getting materials donated through various manufacturers. Once they received all the materials, he put in the permits.
“We get a phone call somewhere that someone is in need, and if we can help, we step in and help within the community,” said Famularo.