MHDC Unveils Report, Presents Awards

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33By Terry Rogers

Earlier this month, Milford Housing Development Corporation held their annual breakfast in order to unveil their Report to the Community and to present two awards to those that deserve recognition for the service they offer to the organization.

“This year’s breakfast theme was “One Purpose, One Team,” which coincides with the theme of the Report to the Community,” said Michele Webb, Executive Assistant at MHDC. “We invite state and local dignitaries to the event who hear from participants in the program. Those that attend the event often comment how touched they were by the speakers who have benefitted from the services we offer.”

At the breakfast, the Reverend Frank Lucia Community Service Award was presented to Alton and Alma Smith. Mrs. Smith, who lives with her husband in New Castle, said that they travel from upstate to meetings for MHDC each month because they feel that the organization provides so much to those who need help.

“They are serving people in the community who have fallen on hard times,” Mrs. Smith said. “They are trying to better their lives and the lives of their family. It is so rewarding to see those we have helped achieve the dream of home ownership and to take such as positive step in their lives. The before and after pictures of the families is so amazing. To see children who will now have a roof over their heads that they may not have had before, is worth all the time and effort we put into the organization.” Mrs. Smith said that she and her husband got involved with the organization when told about it by a friend many years ago.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Herb Sheetz who has been working with MHDC for about 12 years. Mr. Sheetz has a group of about 15 mine that are members of the Ocean View Presbyterian Church who help work on projects for MHDC. He is the adviser and lead carpenter, completing whatever jobs MHDC has that are related to home repairs and safety issues so that people can remain in their homes as long as possible. In addition, he serves on the Oversight Committee that evaluates applications of work requests, helping to decided who qualifies for assistance based on need and income.

“The satisfaction you get from repairing a home, fixing a damaged floor, repairing or replacing doors and windows, building new porches or steps and building wheelchair ramps is incredible,” Mr. Sheetz said. “Our group works on the Home Repair side of MHDC and we enjoy giving back without expecting anything in return. The thank yous, the smiles you get from the clients when you have repaired something for them is priceless.”

Mr. Sheetz says that he enjoys working with the staff of MHDC, knowing that he is helping people who truly appreciate what is being done for them. He said the group has been building many wheelchair ramps recently, helping people get in and out of homes more easily. He says that it is a pleasure to work with MHDC, an organization that truly cares about those they help.

MHDC also recognized June Barto, who passed away November 19, 2015. Ms. Barto was a longtime advocate for providing housing for the lower-income population and a founding member of MHDC. She was the first recipient of the Rev. Frank Lucia Community Service Award in 2007 due to her dedication to affordable housing and the community. Ms. Barto served on the Board of Directors for 38 years.

According to the MHDC Report to the Community, MHDC has more than 30 homes under construction and have completed more than 140 home repair projects. Over 300 volunteers have provided more than 5,000 hours of service to the organization, providing an economic impact on the communities they serve of over $147 million.

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