Gifts From the Heart

Posted on January 9, 2007 By Vin Mannix, Herald Columnist

BRADENTON- Scripture says we are our brother’s keeper.

Craig Campbell, Charlie Ugarte and Rob Barnes take those words to heart. They were among area homebuilding professionals who teamed up for an extraordinarily benevolent act for Ryan Costello and his family over the holidays.

They fully remodeled Costello’s master bathroom gratis, so his mother, Monica, and cousin, Nicole Redburn, can bathe the 20-yearold, incapacitated since a car crash off the Anna Maria Bridge last April. The crash killed longtime friend Zane Zavadil, who was driving Costello’s SUV, and left Costello comatose for a month and hospitalized for five.

“I remember reading about it and thinking, ‘How sad,’ ” said Campbell, president of Zirkelbach Construction. “That was the extent of it until this came to my attention.”

Word had gotten around of Monica Costello’s difficulty bathing her son since he came home last August to continue his recovery. Unable to maneuver him and his wheelchair into the bathroom, she had to be resourceful.

“I’d put a handheld shower head through the window and wheel him (to an enclosure) outside,” said the single mother, a nurse who just resumed working after nine months. “It was a major undertaking.”

After getting the lowdown from Bradenton City Councilwoman Marianne Barneby, Alan Zirkelbach, Campbell and Ugarte, an architect, took action. While Ugarte worked up the blueprints, Campbell talked to supply companies, contractors and plumbers.

“They were immediately on board,” Campbell said. “It’s what you should do, being a human being and taking care of one another.” Said Barnes, the contractor,

“When Craig called me, it took me two seconds to decide. I’m happy to do it. I wanted to give her something nice, show her we cared.”

Art Ricker, Manatee County’s construction review coordinator, hastened the process, working up a permit within 24 hours.

“The county was phenomenal,” Campbell said.

Within two weeks, the Costello master bathroom had a new floor, lavatory, plumbing, shower, tile, walls and window.

Ugarte and Campbell estimated the job would’ve cost $15,000.  “She was struggling to do something we take for granted,” Ugarte said. “We thought we could do something simple for us and make a big difference in somebody else’s life.”

Monica Costello is forever grateful. She gave her son his first shower in their new bathroom last Friday night.

“People have been just so wonderful, so generous,” she said. “How great this community is. I can’t say thank you enough.”


* Project coordination: Craig Campbell, Greg Hodge, Matt Mathews of Zirkelbach Construction.

* Architect: Charlie Ugarte of Ugarte & Associates. * Contractor: Rob Barnes, Rusty Parks of Hawaiian Style Tile.

* Materials: Rodney Potter of Leeds Building Products.

* Subcontractors: Bill Smock of Gator Plumbing; Paul Steihle of Climatic Conditioning, Inc.