Tuesday, May 31, 2011

~one wish~

In July of 2006 Sgt. Leonid Milkin was serving his country overseas when he got the phone call that no one wants to get....that his beloved family had been brutally murdered in their home that was then burned to the ground to cover up the horrific crimes. His loving wife, Olga; their adorable young sons Justin and Andrew; and sister in law, Lyubov Botvina murdered and the home destroyed.

Leo's one wish: to rebuild his home, and his life in honor of Olga, Justin, and Andrew.

After a long-awaited homecoming, more than 60 volunteers welcomed Leonid Milkin to his completed Kirkland home on Saturday.

About 18 months ago, the community began rebuilding Milkin's home. 
Hundreds of volunteers rallied to build him a place to call home after the tragic loss of his family.
Everything from windows to doors, appliances to furniture was donated.

Leonid had spent the last 3 years sleeping on an air mattress. He had a dining table and a sofa which were donated by friends. Other than that, the house was blank.

We wanted to make that house a home, and on Saturday while Sgnt. Milkin was away, dozens of volunteers, including myself, worked hard to build a garage and furnish the home.
{Greenbaum home furnishings donated $50,000 worth of new furniture}

The yard was landscaped, trees and flowers in red, white, and blue planted.

I was the lucky one and got called in to do the interior.
I worked with the few family photos that were left.
I framed them and added fresh flowers to the rooms, and added accessories to make it complete.

I was 4 hours east of the mountains, but drove home late Friday night so that I could get to work early on Saturday, then drive back to meet my family camping.

This has changed me, and I will remember this day forever.
An arbor that survived the fire was rebuilt and a sign now hangs on it in the garden.
 The flowers couldn't have been more perfect.
 Sgnt. Milkin had no idea what was going on at his house. He thought it was getting cleaned.
He was so surprised to walk in and see 3 news camera in his home and all the people there.
He stands proudly under the American flag.
{center, red shirt, white jacket}
 Michele Yousef on the left is the one who headed up this whole operation. 
Without her, none of this would have happened.
 Little and big, everyone came out to help!
 I made this chalkboard for the kitchen.
The saying seemed appropriate.
 All the light fixtures were donated.
 His back yard.
 Building the garage, in one day!
It was like an Extreme Home Makeover!
 His 2 boys.....
 His family did all the tile work.
 The street was so busy they had to have local police doing traffic control.
 Finishing the deck and stairs.
 The kitchen was previously completed, but the glass tile back splash was a surprise.
 Here he is, just walking in and seeing it for the first time!
 In the master bedroom I framed photos of his wife and added a heart topiary.
 The spare room got a gorgeous new iron bed.
 Here is one of our local news women talking to John Greenbaum of Greenbaum home furnishings.
 It was so inspiring to see this many volunteers who really cared about this man and his loss, and wanted to see this home completed so that he could move on with his life.
 I painted this over the fireplace in the living room.
 And his favorite photo of his wife Olga and their two boys, Justin and Andrew, is featured in a huge frame above the fireplace in the master bedroom. Every morning he can wake up and see them.
It truly was a honor being a part of this. I have met so many new friends and this whole experience has changed me for the better.
To read more about the story you can click
{I am in that video above}
and here.
*first 7 photos courtey of Leonid Milkin's sister, Annetta.


claudia b said...

omigosh Melaine, what a story. how wonderful that everyone came together to do this for him.

Lori said...

What an amazing story of human kindness to Leonid. Thank you for sharing this.

Kathy said...

How very touching and such an honour to be a part of this..

24 Corners said...

Bless you Melaine, and all those who invested their hearts and time to bless this man and bring a bit more healing to his heart, such a wonderful way to honor and help a soldier on Memorial Day. ♥
xo J~

Jodi said...

What a great honor! It's so nice to see people come together and help a person in need!


the old white house said...

What a beautiful community to reach out to a man in need of love. I am sure that you have all restored his spirit in a way that only loving kindness can. Thank you for sharing. xoxoxo

the old white house said...

What a beautiful community to reach out to a man in need of love. I am sure that you have all restored his spirit in a way that only loving kindness can. Thank you for sharing. xoxoxo

Holly said...

I remember when this happened and was so saddened for him and his family. The fact that he has a smile on his face today is amazing. He chooses to have joy and that joy is reflected in everyone around him. What a blessing you are to be part of that gift, and what a blessing you received, by giving of yourself.

Heather Salazar said...

Thats amazing!!!

Great work


Destiny said...

Wow! I am truly touched by this with tears in my eyes. What an amazing thing for you and the rest of them to do! Thank you for sharing this Melaine. ~Destiny

eu, Lila Cassini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

An amazing and touching story of kindness. Thank you for sharing your experience.

eu, Lila Cassini said...

Viver é maravilhoso!! A casa esta linda e muito aconchegante.Que DEUS possa abençoar CADA UM que estava doando um pouquinho de amor. Obrigada por compartilhar este post. bjs.

Daydream Living said...

Hi Melaine,
this is truly a beautiful mixed feelings post, the lovely way of making his house a home again and the sadness of his tragedy, it gave me chills... Love what you and the other volunteers did for this man and thank you for sharing it.
Maureen x

TheCrankyCrow said...

What an incredible post. I truly am at a loss for words - the tears may have something to do with that. Bless you and all the others who surrounded this man with love and caring - and bless him for his sacrifices. I cannot think of a more fitting Memorial Day tribute...Robin

KL said...

What a beautiful and amazing story.

Blondie's Journal said...

With an open heart and helping hands, it is amazing what we can do as a group. You are a real sweetheart, Melaine!


Karena said...

Melaine this really brought me to tears, what a loving thing to do for this soldier and his family.

Come and enter my new Giveaway from Tracy Porter!

Art by Karena

COTTAG3 said...

Thank you for sharing this story. We need to hear more feel good, inspirational stories like this. It's so nice to see a community rally around someone who has lost so much. I hope the future bring more wonderful memories for him.

www.StarHughes.com said...

Wow, what an amazing story. Such an amazing effort of the community to work together to produce something so beautiful for Leonid. Thank you for sharing!
Star Hughes Living

Here On Crow Creek said...

It hurts so bad to see people suffer. I am so heartbroken for him and I cant imagine the pain he has went through. His home is very lovely and I pray that it soon can be filled with laughter and love. The paintings you did are so nice and I am sure they put a smile on his face. Great story you shared. It was really nice seeing all the love that was put in that house for him.

KarenB said...

Wow, what an amazing opportunity. It's so awesome to see people that are still willing to give so much. I hope blessings come to you in spades because of the time and effort you gave!

jessica said...

Oh my word! I am crying so hard...as a mother of two little ones I can't believe the pain he had to deal with. Time heals alot they say, but nothing could bring back the precious babies and your best friend. This is such an awesome story in the way that you all reached out and helped him. You did a beautiful job. God Bless you!!

Linda in AZ * said...

*** Nobody can read this incredible story without choking up... my chest feels so heavy with grief for Leonid, & what thoughts he will always live with...

The friends and family of your community have truly given him a gift of hope, and there's no pricetag that can be put on that.

As an Army wife for 38 years, I can tell you we Army folks are the same way in bonding together to help another's grief... we get back so much more than we give, too... tenfold, I believe.

* GOD BLESS YOU ALL for giving SO MUCH of YOURSELVES to a man who has LOST SOOOOO MUCH... *

Most warmly,
Linda in AZ *
[email protected]

The Webb's said...

Living in Washington like yourself, when I first heard of this story it broke my heart, I can't even imagine the pain of losing my entire family. What a wonderful way to celebrate his families lives by creating beautiful mementos for him through your artistic ability. Thank you. May God Bless.

Kaelyn said...

Must have been heart wrenching and amazing at the same time.

[email protected] said...

Melaine~ It is so wonderful and inspiring to see and hear about you doing this. It just goes to show how when people come together, amazing things can be done. I hope this home brings him peace, contentment and happiness. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story!! :-)

Lori said...

This is really something and being able to say that you were part of it ~ well it chokes me up. Bravo to you.

Between You and Me said...

okay...just reading this..and now crying.

this kind of love and kindness shown by a community to a hurting soul is what life is all about...

I'm sure it's what Jesus meant when he said, "love your neighbor as yourself."

I know that it has turned you inside out....and I'm sure it will continue to do so over the months to come....

Deborah said...

No words..except what a gift of complete kindness to this dear man.

Deborah xoxo

Lynne said...

I remember the tragic story...I prayed for Leonid. Thank you for sharing this, Melaine. I missed the news broadcast because we were out of town. What a perfect day to honor our soldier! You are all amazing!

Cassie said...

This made my heart ache but brought me happiness as well. What an amazing experience to be a part of. xx

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Cupcake diva said...

Amazing...absolutley amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Jen said...

Absolutely amazing! I love how the community came together to do something wonderful for this man who has lost so much.

Jolene said...

I admit, I totally teared up reading this post... I had never heard about this story, it is soo sad. Bless you for what you've done to help.

Little Leslie said...

good for you and your townspeople. What a wonderful gift to someone who is hurting beyond of our understanding. I hope he comes to peace with your help.

Sadie said...

What a heart wrenching/heartwarming story. I may have to link to it. Thanks for sharing!

Be Colorful Coastal said...

I have been remiss in my blog reading the last week or so and I just was able to read this today. There are no words. I had to take a break in the middle to grab a tissue and steel myself for the rest of the story. It would totally change you. I understand that. What an amazing gift to be able to have been a part of the healing process for this incredible man.
Thank you for sharing. I will be reposting your blog on my facebook.

[email protected] said...

melaine....what an amazing outpouring of compassion! everything seemed to turn out so beautifully with so many personal touches. thank you for sharing this...

Blue Shore House said...

An amazing story of tragedy into triumph and hope. Bless you and the communitcy for such a wonderful job!


City Girl Turns Country said...

What an inspiring story.... You all took a tragic story and gave it love and honor. My heart goes out to this wonderful man who gave up so much to serve all of us. You are fortunate to have been apar of this... it will forever touch your soul.

Kellie said...

Thanks for sharing this story. It is so wonderful to see the caring community help this brave man.

Anonymous said...

I am so amazed by the generosity of your wonderful community. May God bless this brave and wonderous man for all he has been through, and may his home be blessed with so much love.

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