Thanks to a vandal, one northern Saskatchewan family won’t be having the Christmas they had planned.
In spring 2013, Ali and Julius Crane started work building their dream home. Julius, who works away from home as a mechanic at a mine fulltime, spent every week off working on the house in Cumberland House, according to his sister-in-law, Adrianne Hodgson.
After two years of work and waiting, they planned to have their family living in their newly built home for Christmas this year.
But everything has changed in just one weekend. Over the course of the night on Sunday Dec. 13, the house was trashed.
RCMP said a 14-year-old vandal smashed counters, tore up walls, broke the bathroom vanity and spray painted the couch.
Hodgson said when she found out, she felt sick to her stomach. Her mother called her to explain some of the details.
“I could tell she was upset, she had been crying, and she told me that the house had been broken into,” said Hodgson.
Julius had left for work last Thursday, having just completed the flooring.
“His week (at home) this Thursday he was planning to do the plumbing and that would’ve been pretty much it,” said Hodgson.
Now, the plan has been set back.
Flooring was damaged and all the smoke detectors were destroyed. Cupboard doors and gyprock will now have to be replaced. The intruder also smashed two TVs and an Xbox.
At the end of November, the family of four moved out of the place they were renting and into Ali’s parents’ house. The two-bedroom house was barely big enough for them to stay with their two daughters, but they planned on moving in to their new house within weeks.
Unable to get a mortgage or loan in the village of Cumberland House, the couple was on their own and decided to build a home instead. Hodgson said they had been saving up as much money as they could, all of it going into the build.
“There’s no market for that, so you’re basically on your own,” said Hodgson. “So that’s what they’ve been doing for the past two years.”
With the help of Ali’s uncle, a journeyman carpenter, the basic framing was completed and the project progressed.
“He volunteered his time to help them build a house,” said Hodgson. “If he hadn’t have done that, they either wouldn’t have started when they did, or they’d be a lot more behind in the process than they were.”
According to Hodgson, the house meant everything to them, especially Julius.
“He just committed the last two years of his life to this,” said Hodgson.
Julius’ grandmother, who Hodgson described as the woman who raised him, had just died last month. Prior to her death, Julius was preparing a room at their new house for her.
“They didn’t expect her to pass away like that,” said Hodgson. “She had been there a couple times looking at it … she picked out the paint colour for her room.
“So he’s taking it pretty hard.”
The couple, in their 30s, have been married 10 years.
“We don’t have a lot of money, we just kind of live from paycheck to paycheck,” said Hodgson, who said her sister Ali’s family is much the same. “With Christmas (coming up), it’s a struggle. And I know for my sister it is too.
“For thousands and thousands of dollars to go into something and in just a few hours it’s totally wrecked, was pretty heart-breaking for them.”
Julius is flying home Tuesday instead of Thursday.
Cumberland RCMP have arrested and charged the teenage suspect with break and enter and mischief over $5,000. His first court appearance will be on Feb. 2, 2016.
The couple were in the process of cataloging and assessing their property in order to purchase insurance.
Hodgson hopes they’ll be able to replace everything that was damaged, and recently set up a GoFundMe page to help out.
In just over 12 hours since it started, the GoFundMe campaign she started has raised $3,650, almost half way to the set goal of $7,500.
To her, the support for her sister means a lot.
Ali and the women’s mother run the Community Access Program for Children (CAPC) to help out the small community of about 1,500 people.
“They do so many programs and activities…all year long,” said Hodgson.
This week, they were planning on taking mothers from the community on a Christmas shopping trip.
“I know there are a lot of people who have a lot of respect for my sister and my family. A lot of people would love to be able to reach out and help them, because I know a lot of the people we know, if they were in that situation, they’d want people to reach out to them as well,” said Hodgson.
If anyone wants to donate cash instead of going through the website, they can reach out to the family or send an e-transfer to their cell phone at 1-(306)-888-7873.