PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - For his 50th birthday, Steve Marshall wanted to do something special, but a cruise in the Caribbean or a vacation in Hawaii wasn't exactly what he had in mind. "When the family started asking, 'What do you want to do for your 50th?' I prayed about it and said I don't have any interest in having a party for myself, but how awesome would it be if I could find a family and spend the day honoring them?"
Instead, Marshall wanted to make a difference for someone in need of a little help and care.
Marshall said his friend, a pastor at a church in north Portland, helped him find Kimberely Dixon.
Dixon lost her husband two years ago and her son died in a gang shooting last month. Her granddaughter passed away from a typically treatable illness a few weeks ago.
Marshall and dozens of family and friends turned out to fix up Dixon's home.
"I've probably got about 75 to 100 people here today and I've had generous donations from businesses all over the place," he said. "It's become a bit of a home remodel, something far beyond what I ever expected."
"He started kind of marking out what he wanted to do. I was like, 'That's what you want to do?'" Dixon said. "And he did a walk through the house and here we are today, celebrating his birthday in this unique and different way."
Dixon, who has four children, said she hopes Marshall's decision will inspire people to make a difference in the lives of others, even if it's as simple as sharing a smile.
"To have somebody spearhead such joy is overwhelmingly amazing. And we as a family and hopefully as a community are so blessed by this effort," she said.