Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley celebrates groundbreaking for 100th home
There’s something so monumental about reaching the 100 mark — for a birthday or an anniversary or any other accomplishment. But a particularly sweet 100th celebration happened Wednesday when Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley broke ground on its 100th home.
That milestone means more than 100 houses have been built for local residents. It means 100 new homes have been lovingly established.
Habitat families and officials gathered at Gypsum’s Stratton Flats neighborhood to celebrate the start of the organization’s next eight residences. Those houses rise from the ground thanks to volunteer workers, and when they are done, they will provide shelter for local residents who couldn’t otherwise plant roots in the communities where they work — people such as Jenny Parmenter, a 33-year-old single mom with three children who is employed at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and is a sixth-generation Gypsum resident.
Parmenter will soon move into her Habitat home — one of the residences located along Grace Avenue near Red Hill Elementary School in Gypsum. During the groundbreaking festivities, she spoke passionately about what the organization has meant for her family.
“I applied for Habitat because my family was looking for stability and a permanent roof over my children’s heads,” she said. “I just could not afford any home in this valley on my single income. I have always been a hard worker, and I am so grateful and love the job I have. I just couldn’t get up on my feet.”
“There is no place like home,” Parmenter continued. “We finally have an amazing solid future where we can laugh, learn and grow together. Thank you Habitat for Humanity. We are forever grateful.”
That helping boost is what Habitat is all about, said Elyse Howard, director of development for the Vail Valley chapter.
“This is what we are seeing more of with Habitat for Humanity — people who grew up in Eagle County and want to raise their kids here, too.”
Even in the midst of celebrating its 100th groundbreaking, local Habitat officials talked about the long game. When these eight homes are done, there are still 28 more sites in Gypsum and a new partnership opportunity in Eagle, said local Habitat executive director John Welaj. Gary Shimanowitz, vice president of mountain operations at Beaver Creek and a member of the Habitat board of directors, pledged both the company’s and the community’s continued support to bring those homes and many others out of the ground.
Howard noted that for every one Habitat home, there are about 10 eligible families who apply to the program, an illustration of the local housing crisis and a demonstration of Habitat’s impact.
“There is so much conversation about the issue of housing in this valley. We are proud to be an important part of the solution,” Howard concluded.