EDWARDS, Colorado - Two families who spend their lives giving to others were on the receiving end as they moved into their new Habitat for Humanity homes.
Jose Luis Garcia works with the Thrifty Shoppe, and John Castillo works with Eagle County's health and human services department.
This week their families became the two latest to move into Edwards' Fox Hollow neighborhood, homes families build in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties.
The Fox Hollow project is 16 of the 35 homes the local Habitat affiliate has built. The last four were built this year. Of those, two of the last four were dedicated this week and the last two will be dedicated early next year, says Kristi Moon with the local Habitat affiliate.
"Dozens of children are in safe affordable homes, Moon said.
No one gives you a house, and neither will Habitat for Humanity.
The Garcia and Castillo families were selected from dozens of applicants. They had to pass muster in three criteria: Their need, their ability to pay including their credit history, and their ability to partner - work.
Each family member works at least 250 hours. With two families with two parents and two housefuls of kids, that's a world of work.
After all that, partner families buy their homes - it's not a gift.
The quilts are, though.
At the dedication, the Eagle River Presbyterian Church's quilting group presented each family with a quilt. Every stitch an act of love.
The families each received a Bible, and finally the symbolic gold key to their homes.
Tuesday was one of the coldest days of the year, but Fox Hollow was the warmest spot on earth.
Dozens of people crowded in for the dedication, led by Tommy Schneider, pastor of Calvary Chapel Vail Valley, and Eagle County Commissioner Jon Stavney.
"The thing about Habitat for Humanity houses that's so powerful is that while the families are only moving a half mile from where they lived, they see the community helping build their new home. They understand their community and their place in it in a new way," said Jon Stavney, Eagle County commission.
John and Amalia Castillo thought a few friends might show up to help build. He's their front desk guy at the Eagle County's Avon annex. You know him if you've met him, Stavney said.
The county has a policy encouraging volunteering, and staffers can take two days to support their favorite cause. Their new favorite cause is Habitat for Humanity.
"We had 40 people from the health and human services department show up to help build," Stavney said.
When Garcia drove the Thrifty Shoppe truck over to Schneider's house to pick up some items, he was so happy and enthusiastic that Schneider says he thought about giving him an extra sofa.
Each duplex is sponsored by a local professional building company. This time around it's Hermes Resort Properties and U.S. Bank.
Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976. The local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, was launched in 1995.
The locals have built 27 homes housing nearly 100 children locally. They'll dedicate two more this spring, and break ground for four others, the last of Habitat's 16-unit Fox Hollow project.
Habitat builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with local families in need.
By the end of the Fox Hollow project, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties will have completed 35 homes.
Volunteers make up most of the workforce, and local construction firms and building companies have pitched in.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.