Local Families Continue Habitat Tradition

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For three consecutive years the Grier and Burris families of Milford have partnered with the Habitat for Humanity in the spirit of community service. During this year’s 6th Annual Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service both families worked at Georgetown Point and helped to complete two Habitat Homes on Linden Avenue.

The day of service began in 2008 when Rachel Grier Reynolds decided to involve the Grier family in something bigger than themselves. This was nothing new for the family as community service has been handed down through generations as a way of life. That Christmas instead of a ordinary present, each family member received a tool belt and was told that they would be building homes for the less fortunate through Habitat for Humanity. Unknown to all, this family activity would mean so much more as Rachael was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer months later.

Three years after Rachel and her family began their Habitat for Humanity services, their friends and neighbors, the Burris family, joined the effort of giving the gift of service. Going back several generations the Grier and Burris families have worked together on community projects including local churches, the Milford hospital, fire departments and several community service organizations.

“Rachel Grier is always looking to get more people involved in our community, my father always says if Rachel asks you to do something you do not say no,” commented Rachael (Burris) Keys. “Habitat for Humanity is a great organization and it is a fun way to give back.”

 

Photo Taken By Allison Burris Castellanos

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Together the families were able to finish construction on two houses that will give two families from Georgetown an opportunity to own a home of their own. According to Melissa Korik,Public Relations Coordinator for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity,116 Linden Avenue will soon be the home for Antonia Velasquez and her three children Jazmine, Arieanna and Stephen. Antonia works as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local nursing home and is “so grateful for the opportunity to work towards the purchase of her new Habitat home.”

The home located at 112 Linden Avenue will soon be the home for Veronica Perez and her two daughters Caliana and Catelyn. Veronica works with special needs children in a local school district and was accepted into the Habitat program in April 2013. She heard about Habitat from a friend and says that the opportunity to receive a Habitat home “will bring comfort and a stable environment for her children.”

Each Habitat for Humanity future occupant must meet their minimum sweat equity hours, 250 hours per adult in the household, and participate in programs that teach them how to maintain a family budget while eliminating debt.

“Meeting the families and working beside them on their new home is quite exciting,” commented Keys. “You have the opportunity to speak with them and begin to see that this project is changing their lives.”

For six consecutive years the Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service has been a success for Habitat for Humanity and the last three have served to bring the two families closer together in the name of community service. Grier-Reynolds intends for this event to be a family tradition , for both families, for years to come.