Conjoined twins to move into renovated, safer home

TLC network plans 2nd documentary on 58-year-old duo.

BEAVERCREEK — More than 200 local residents have volunteered thousands of hours to work on a house that will become the new home for the world’s oldest living conjoined twins Ronnie and Donnie Galyon on Friday, July 16.

Since April, individual volunteers with no experience have worked alongside building professionals to construct an addition to the home of the twins’ brother, Jim Galyon, and his wife, Mary.

“It’s been inspiring to see how many hundreds of people have stepped up the plate and donated time and materials,” said John Harkleroad, project manager for Brentwood, the general contractor. “I’ve seen the best part of humanity.”

At age 58, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon have attracted international attention. The TLC network is doing a second documentary on them to air later this year.

The twins suffer from arthritis to the point where it made it unsafe for them to live alone in their Dayton home.

Their new Beavercreek home will be a separate unit that will allow the twins to live independently, but will be nearby to their brother and sister-in-law.

New York-based charity Christian Youth Corps. worked with about 220 volunteers and raised and spent about $40,000 on materials for the home, said Pete Andrews, CYC executive director.

Mike and Wanda Edwards run Michael’s Marble and Tile in Xenia. They’ve put paying customers on hold and have volunteered for the past two weeks on constructing a bathroom for the twins.

“I’ve done this for 42 years and I’ve had some good jobs, but this is at the top of them,” Mike Edwards said. “Everybody needs to do something like this once in a while.”

The new home will allow the twins to enjoy simple, basic pleasures for the first time in years.

Most significantly, they will be able to move around, said their brother, Jim.

The twins are unable to walk any more than a few steps so they depend on a specially made two-person wheelchair.

Because their current home has regular-sized hallways and doorways, they are unable to easily get around in it, so they spend most of their time sitting, often on the floor, Jim Galyon said.

Their new home has large doorways with no doors and wide halls with a smooth surface to manage a wheelchair.

It also includes a ramp that leads to the main house where Jim and Mary live and another ramp that leads outside.

“Getting here and having things that actually work for them is great,” Jim Galyon said.