TONAWANDA, N.Y. — With a hammer, some nails, and a big heart, the owner of a town of Tonawanda construction company is going above and beyond to be a "Good Neighbor" and help Western New Yorkers in need.
Edward Barton has owned Barton and Son's Construction for more than a decade and takes pride in his company's projects. But his side jobs are perhaps even more fulfilling.
"We've been blessed and that's why we give so much," Barton told 2 On Your Side.
When scrolling through his personal and professional Facebook pages, it's easy to see that giving to others is one of Barton's top priorities.
He has bought lunches for town of Tonawanda police officers, purchased dozens of restaurant gift cards for town employees, raised money for the Buffalo City Mission, challenged friends to donate part of their stimulus checks, and lifted the spirits of a teen who was bullied.
"We just wanted to do something nice for her, so I got a friend of mine to help me and we donated a room remodel for her," said Barton. He also rewarded the two teens who stepped in to help stop the bullying incident.
Perhaps most significant though, Barton offers wheelchair ramps and home repairs for the homebound elderly as well as disabled veterans. He covers the parts and labor, so a wheelchair ramp that might typically cost up to $5,000 is free for those who need it.
Barton, the son of a Vietnam veteran, says it's not charity, but simply a way to pay back veterans for their selfless service.
"They've done what I couldn't personally do and many of us wouldn't be willing to sacrifice," said Barton. "I am so grateful to them."
Heather Schwartz lives down the street from Barton and says he epitomizes a "Good Neighbor" and that's why she nominated him to be featured in WGRZ's "Good Neighbors" series.
"He really tries to motivate each and every one of us," she said. "He challenges everybody that he's friends with and knows and he's like, 'Let's do this. Let's keep this business open. Let's help support these guys. "
So why does he give so much? Barton says he wants to set an example and encourage other citizens and businesses to give what they can, but he also wants to be a good father and role model to his four children.
"They see me doing what I do, and hopefully if they have the opportunity when they're older they'll do the same. That's our most important job right is raising our children."
One of Barton's daughters recently followed in his charitable footsteps and had a lemonade stand. She raised $200 and donated it all to the Niagara County SPCA.
If you know of a person, business, group, or charity who should be highlighted as a "Good Neighbor" on Channel 2, email Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com.