Rare second-generation Habitat for Humanity homeowner among 8 families celebrated in ‘home for the holidays’ dedication
Ale Sandoval grew up in a Habitat home
Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley dedicated its 100th home Sunday with dozens of locals braving the cold temperatures to celebrate.
The event embraced a “home for the holidays” theme in recognizing eight families who received keys to new houses that they helped build in the Stratton Flats neighborhood of Gypsum.
In remembering another holiday celebration 14 years earlier, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley Executive Director John Welaj recognized Ale Sandoval as a second-generation Habitat for Humanity homeowner in Eagle County.
“This really is a unique situation that occurred, that a second-generation family is going to be owning a habitat home,” Welaj said.
Ale Sandoval recalls fondly her memories as child, moving into her new home in Fox Hollow, a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood in Edwards in 2008.
Support Local Journalism
“I was 11 when we moved into the house,” she said.
Her husband, Avon Police Officer Andy Sandoval, said because of Habitat, their family now has a home in the area where Ale and he were raised.
“This community gave me dreams, it gave me hope,” Sandoval said. “And now, I’m looking forward to seeing my kids growing up in that same hope, in that same dream.”
The Sandovals were presented with the keys to their property on Sunday; joining them were their children, 4-year-old Milo and 1-year-old Mia, along with Ale’s parents, Magdalena and Pedro Lopez.
Magdalena and Pedro Lopez said their children — Ale and her younger sisters Brissa and Lizette — helped with the construction of that home, just as Ale helped with the construction of her new home in Stratton Flats.
“We have every step of the building of the house in pictures,” Magdalena Lopez said of the 2008 build of Fox Hollow.
But Ale, in some prepared remarks, said she had a whole new perspective on the Habitat for Humanity home build process as an adult. She described the process as “coming together every Saturday with people of different backgrounds, professions and lifestyles, and realizing that none of that mattered here because we were all working for the same goal, for a place to call home,” she said.
“It has been so special to share these moments not only with our close friends and family, but also with those who we will now call our neighbors,” she added.
Seven of those neighbors on Sunday received the keys to the homes they helped build, as well. Karen Ruiz had prepared some remarks, but became too nervous to deliver them in a proper speech to the group.
“This has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions, but good emotions,” she said.
The holiday timing was made more special by an appearance from the Eagle Valley Singers, a coed extension of concert choir for serious singers from Eagle Valley High School. The group performed Christmas carols following the key presentation.
Locally, Habitat for Humanity hasn’t had a Christmas-time celebration since that 2008 event when Sandoval was 11.
At that December 2008 event, when Sandoval and her family moved into their Habitat for Humanity home in Edwards, Habitat for Humanity of Colorado had just finished its 1,000th home in Colorado a month earlier. The Lopez family’s home, along with their three neighbors, represented the first four of the next 1,000 homes the organization had aimed to build in Colorado in the years that followed.
Today, Habitat for Humanity of Colorado has built, renovated and repaired more than 3,100 homes.
Locally, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley celebrated 100 homes on Sunday, with 76 of those homes being built in the last 15 years.
“We’re moving pretty strong,” Welaj said. “We’re aiming to do another 24 homes next year … We’re scaling up at a really good trajectory.”