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Habitat program snowballs

Kimberly NicolettiVail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySeveral community members, including residents of Bachelor Gulch and Gregg & Co. Builders are working on a Habitat for Humanity duplex for two famliiles in Edwards.
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EDWARDS, Colorado Good deeds often have a snowball effect, beyond their intended purpose.Habitat for Humanity celebrated the beginning of construction on its second of eight affordable housing duplexes at Fox Hollow in Edwards Monday, with a wall raising ceremony.Of course, the two new families who will move into the second duplex by Christmas were extremely thankful: The Loera-Lopez family wrote a letter saying Habitat was making an otherwise unattainable dream come true. And Natalie Katz said she is grateful that the home will give her a chance to give my daughter everything she deserves its security for my daughter.But the Loera-Lopez family really hit the nail on the head when they told the community: You are not only building homes. You are also building dreams, friendship and hope. Habitats new Professional Builder Program is making a difference in much more than simply 16 families lives this year. Its bringing together community members who may not have otherwise conversed, and its creating a template for future Habitat projects.

Katz, who has lived in the Vail Valley for more than 20 years and currently works as a waitress, didnt know what Bachelor Gulch was until the community members invited her to go bowling. Now she says shes never met a better bunch of people.But the relationships go even farther. Through fundraising events, as well as physically helping build the Habitat homes, Bachelor Gulch residents have gotten to know each other. Its a really good way to bring the community together, because a lot of the residents are second-home owners and theyre not always here, said Debbie Scripps, one of the Bachelor Gulch residents who helped raise money to build the Katz familys home. Lately a dozen or so Bachelor Gulch residents have been working in small teams on the Habitat duplexes.It creates a strong bond between the members of this community you get to know your neighbors on a deeper level, said Patrick Baldasare, another resident who spearheaded the fundraising effort. It helps you focus on whats important in life and motivates you to want to help people.But Bachelor Gulch residents arent the only people creating a closer-knit community. Community Banks of Colorado and Gregg & Co. Builders are also partnering to build Habitats second duplex.Its an opportunity to meet different segments of the local community and feel we have a common purpose, said Kristin Cecil of Community Banks.Part of Community Banks corporate culture involves supporting the community and encouraging its employees to volunteer, said Dan Godec, executive vice president and chief lending officer. Both Community Banks and Gregg & Co. Builders have helped build Habitat homes in the past, so it was a natural fit to partner.

Jim Greggs father and grandfather passed on the love of woodworking to him, which led him to start Gregg & Co. Builders, the third partner in the Katz and Loera-Lopez family duplex. Now Gregg is passing not only his love of building onto his 25-year-old son, Tommy, but also his strong belief in helping others.Its a good learning experience for him to get involved in this to lay a foundation for giving back to the community, Gregg said. You get great feelings from being able to contribute to someones happiness making a dream come true is more valuable than money in many respects.Tommy Gregg plans to carry the companys volunteer efforts into the future. He perceives it as two families working side-by-side: one family with expertise in building teaching and helping another family to fulfill its dream of home ownership.(The Professional Builder Program) is going to snowball into even greater and bigger things for Habitat in the future, said Jim Gregg. This may set the standard for Eagle Valleys Habitat for Humanity so it can get more homes done by making it a continuous program. Its the footprint for the future growth of Habitat.


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