Habitat gives Vail Valley family its first home | VailDaily.com

Habitat gives Vail Valley family its first home

Chris Outcalt
Vail Valley, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Every Wednesday and Saturday for the last three years Vail Valley resident Pedro Lopez has bought $2 a lottery ticket. He planned to use the money for a down payment on a house for his wife and three daughters, but he never won.

About a year ago, Lopez won a different kind of a lottery. Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties selected his family to receive a habitat home at the Fox Hollow complex in Edwards.

Lopez cried when got the news.

“She said ‘Stop buying lottery tickets’,” said Lopez, who moved to the United States from Mexico 28 years ago. “They say men aren’t supposed to cry ” I cried that day.”

Lopez, his wife Magdalena and his three daughters, 11-year-old Alejandra, 7-year-old Brissa and 4-year-old Lisette will move into their new home Dec. 29.

Habitat for Humanity is a national and international program that helps low-income families build and buy their own homes. The Fox Hollow project consists of 16 units to be completed by 2010.

Lopez has put in hundreds of hours working on his home. The habitat program has a 500-hour volunteer requirement for families that are moving into a house. But Lopez is so grateful for his home, he plans to keep volunteering for Habitat long after he’s met his hours quota.

“Once that’s done I’ll keep going,” he said. “I’ll volunteer.”

The best part of the new house is the stability it will provide his family, Lopez said.

“It’s a permanent place for life,” he said.

The Lopez family moved into the Riverview apartments on Highway 6 in 2004. Although property Manager Nick Barbella is happy for the family’s opportunity, he’s sad to see them go.

“He’s been working hard to get where he’s at,” Barbella said. “He pays his rent on time and takes care of his apartment.”

Barbella said he only recently got to know the family and wishes he had more tenants like them.

“When you’re managing a number of units, sometimes you don’t know who they are because they do everything right,” Barbella said.

In addition to volunteering with habitat, Lopez works seven days a week at the Marriott. He started there 15 years ago in the maintenance department before switching to the housekeeping department.

“He’s very well thought of,” Barbella said.

So well thought of that the Marriott plans to cater a housewarming party for the Lopez family after they move into their new home.

“In addition to the Marriott to providing all of the food, they’ve been out on the job site putting together volunteer days and working on the house they will live in,” said Emily Peyton, family programs director for the local Habitat for Humanity.

Lopez said a friend told him about the Habitat program a year and a half ago. He put in his application the day he found out about it.

“It’s very lucky,” he said.

Lopez still plays the lottery. If he wins, he said he’dgive the money to another family that needs it.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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