Lori Wees’ life changed the day she walked into Lowe’s.
Her world was rocked profoundly after losing her husband and best friend, Jerry, to cancer a few months earlier in March of 2018.
Twenty years prior, Jerry and Lori had started to remodel their home in Omaha, Nebraska. Jerry loved working on the house, sketching out models and ordering supplies to complete the work himself. But he didn’t always fully finish his projects, and Lori never missed an opportunity to light-heartedly tease her soul mate.
“I called him three-quarters Jerry because he seemed to start a project, go a certain way with it, and then he would stop,” Lori said.
Jerry was redoing their kitchen when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, only ten months after their wedding. The work on the kitchen slowed as Jerry underwent chemotherapy. But he continued to design and dream, making a notebook of plans that contained his vision for the kitchen.
When the cancer came back two years ago, Jerry was unable to fight it any longer. Before he passed, Jerry made Lori promise that she would finish the kitchen remodel. Overwhelmed, and grief-stricken, Lori turned to her friends, family and Lowe’s.
Roy Hunter, a flooring specialist, was one of the associates who helped Lori at the Lowe’s in Papillion, Nebraska.
“I could see it was pretty tough on her,” Hunter said. “They had the refrigerator in the other room. [sic] You could just imagine being without a kitchen that long.”
George Cochrane, a cabinet specialist, went off of the detailed plans Jerry had made and helped bring the vision to life. “He had sizes, he had lengths, he had everything drawn out of what his dream was.”
Hunter and Cochrane led a group of Lowe’s associates, along with family and friends, who helped Lori keep her promise to her husband.
“They made me so comfortable and just helped me put it all together,” Lori said.
When it came time to complete the backsplash, Hunter and Cochrane volunteered their time on an off-day to finish the job. They surprised Lori by installing a special tile to honor her late husband, engraved with the words “Inspired by ¾ Jerry, 100% Missed.”
Now that the kitchen is finally complete to the specifications that Jerry created, Lori reflected on what her husband would say.
“He’d probably thank us for completing the kitchen, but I know number one he’d say that he misses us dearly.”