GYPSUM - In 1995, the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate built its first house in Gypsum.
They're back in Gypsum and broke ground Wednesday for six more homes of the 18 they plan to build in Gypsum's Stratton Flats.
That's 18 families with homes who didn't think they had a chance.
"Sometimes, life hands you a chance. It hands you something amazing, you almost think it's a dream, but no matter how much you pinch yourself, you don't wake up," read a statement from the Rosales family, one of this year's partner families. "It's moments like those that make life really worth living, because no matter how hard times get, there are always those miracle moments that lift you back on your feet."
This year's six families are six incredible stories.
There's the single mom with three kids who helped build her parents' home in Poland. One woman was a mother at 16 and she and her family have struggled their entire lives.
There's a single mother with one child, a husband and wife with five.
"Without this great opportunity I probably could never afford to buy my own home and provide a nice, safe and healthy environment with a friendly neighborhood for my three children," said Renata Marshall, one of this year's partner families.
The next great thing
Not so long ago, leaders of Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties circled up during a home dedication at Fox Hollow in Edwards. They were building their last townhomes there and wondered where they'd go next.
They followed Horace Greeley's greatest advice, "Go west, young man," and struck a deal with the Pauls Corporation, which acquired Stratton Flats a few years back.
Habitat bought the land for about $27,000 per home. Partner families work hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" helping to build their homes. When they're done, they buy it with 30-year mortgage at a zero interest rate.
It's all part of Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties' $6 million capacity building campaign, aimed at funding a 10-year land inventory and the construction costs for 75 homes locally and 75 homes internationally through the global tithe program.
Toward that end, Habitat introduced a new financial partnership Wednesday with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The partnership is with Habitat for Humanity International and has seen more than 2,700 Habitat homes built across the country and around the world since 2005.
Thrivent Financial contributed 55 percent of the house cost and rounded up volunteers from Thrivent Financial members, members of area Lutheran churches and from the community.
"We are so grateful to have Trish French and the Thrivent team helping to rally the whole faith community, throughout Eagle County, together to help build these homes. It is one of my favorite parts of this partnership," said Kalie Palmer, Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator.
The local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, was launched in 1995. The locals have built 42 homes housing nearly 120 children locally.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.