VAIL - Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties celebrated the organization's mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope March 9 at their signature fundraising event, The Carpenters' Ball.
This year's ball brought people together for international food and wine tasting and a chance to bid on auction items throughout the evening, all to benefit Habitat. The event also gave guests the opportunity to learn about regions around the globe where Habitat is making a difference offering housing solutions.
"Chef Richard Hinojosa and the entire staff at Larkspur Restaurant have completely outdone themselves. By sharing their talents with Habitat for Humanity they allowed us to share a first-class evening with our supporters. We are thrilled with the success of this year's Carpenters' Ball and excited by our guests reaction to the new venue and format" Said Elyse Howard, Development Director at Habitat for Humanity.
The highlight of the event was guest speaker Frances Romero, Habitat homeowner since 2004. Romero shared with the guests how home ownership has enhanced the lives of her family members. As the proud mother of three sons, Rudy, Ernesto, and Ramiro, raising her children has been Frances' primary focus. Knowing this valley was the perfect place to raise her boys, Frances answered an ad for Habitat for Humanity and for the first time, she felt like owning a home as a single mother could became a reality. She wanted a decent place for her children with the things that make a true home - stability, love and a place to create memories.
Building her home was not easy. Sometimes she would get off work at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and go straight to the jobsite to build her house. Through this experience, Frances said she met a lot of loving people and learned the value of giving without expecting anything in return.
"This has led me to where I am today," Romero said. "After 30 years, I have gone back to school and I am pursing a degree in social work. People ask me why I have chosen a low-income career, and I just laugh. My motivation isn't money. It is to help others in need. But I think people should always follow their heart's intuition. I have a positive internal voice and that voice is never wrong."
Since building her home, Romero has created and managed her own cleaning company and was an integral part of the initial successes of the Habitat ReStore. Frances met and married a wonderful man, Ernesto, and her latest adventure takes her back to school for a career in which she can help others.
"Thanks to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, people like me have been able to improve our lives," Romero said. "I know nothing is free in life but I know for sure that there are amazing opportunities, and amazing people in this world. When you ask with a humble heart and you are willing to work hard, you receive."
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, go to www.habitatvailvalley.org.