A real estate developer is donating services to oversee construction of improvements to a house to make it accessible for a Lake County woman who was paralyzed last summer during a pedestrian shelter collapse at O'Hare International Airport.
Donated services from Kinzie Real Estate Group and others are helping the family of Tierney Darden, 24, who lived in Mundelein when the shelter collapse occurred during a storm in August. She suffered a severed spine and remains paralyzed from the waist down.
Kinzie Group spokeswoman Vanessa Irving said work has started on renovations to the single-family house for Darden in Vernon Hills. The renovations are to be finished next month.
In August, Darden's family filed a negligence lawsuit in Cook County circuit court against the Chicago Department of Aviation and the city.
Darden had just returned home Aug. 2 on a flight from Minnesota and was waiting at the shelter for a bus with her mother and sister near Terminal 2 at the O'Hare lower street level when the storm rolled through the Chicago area about 2:40 p.m., according to the complaint.
Her mother, Trudy Darden, and sister, Tayah Minniefield, suffered minor injuries in the collapse, the lawsuit said.
Kinzie Group is presiding over all aspects of construction for Darden's renovated house. That includes managing volunteers and donated building materials while following Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines to ensure the structure is compliant for Darden.
"This was a terrible tragedy and our hearts went out to Tierney and her parents," said Kinzie Group executive Steven Spinell, a roughly 20-year Vernon Hills resident. "We were so moved by her strength and determination to recover as much as possible that we wanted to find a way to help."
Darden is a 2009 graduate of Vernon Hills High School. Spinell's children attended Vernon Hills High with Darden.
Spinell stressed there are several volunteers assisting on the project.