See more pics in our Picasa album!
This morning we celebrated another home dedication in St. Petersburg and were excited to present the keys to our newest Habitat homeowners, the Berthelot family!
Joining us for the dedication proceedings were City of St. Petersburg Vice Chair Bill Dudley and Councilman Jeff Danner, who assisted Shirley Miaoulis from US Congressman CW Bill Young's Office with the presentation of a flag that has been flown over the US Capitol. Also participating were David Williams of Valpak and Gary Cook of Progress Energy.
A heartfelt presentation of the welcome mat was delivered by family friend Jean Geneus, also a Habitat homeowner who had referred the Berthelots to apply for the program.
The Berthelot home was sponsored in part by Wells Fargo, and Christine Valdes, Regional Diverse Segment Manager, presented the family with the keys to their home. The ceremony closed with a beautiful blessing by Pastor Josias Jocelyn as the family and friends placed their hands on the home, a Habitat Pinellas tradition.
Welcome home Berthelot family!
Photo: Christine Valdes of Wells Fargo, center, with the Berthelot family after the dedication ceremony.Comments
Spring Cleaning? Bring your gently used household items to the Ferman Mini auto dealership in Palm Harbor on April 19th and 20th! Our ReStore truck will be onsite at Ferman Mini during their "Spring Cleaning" sales event.
All accepted donations -- furniture, appliances, building materials, light fixtures, etc. -- will be resold at our Habitat ReStore home improvement store, located at the corner of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street (behind 5/3rd Bank). All proceeds from the ReStore benefit our Habitat Pinellas program. Complete list of accepted items.
FERMAN MINI "SPRING CLEANING" SALES EVENT and Habitat Pinellas ReStore Donation Collection!
Friday, April 19th: noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 20th: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Ferman Mini, 31400 US Hwy 19 N, Palm Harbor
A great big thank you to our friends at FERMAN MINI OF TAMPA BAY for inviting us to participate in their sales event!Comments
Our team of 10 weary travelers returned home to Pinellas County late Sunday, after spending the week volunteering on two home build sites in Guatemala as part of our first-ever Global Village trip.
The team spent the week working side by side with Habitat Guatemala volunteers building homes for two Guatemalan families. They arrive home tired, but in high spirits and with great appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the Global Village build.
Our COO Ron Spoor sums up the final two days of the trip: "The week ended with a spectacular home dedication and celebration with homeowners. As one might expect, we were moved by the event. After goodbyes and a night’s rest the team traveled back to Antigua where they had the opportunity to hike a volcano."
"Guatemala is a country filled with both beauty and poverty," said Ron. "The team will long remember their new friendships and the warm smiles of our Guatemalan brothers and sisters. We were privileged to share the week with our Habitat co-workers in Guatemala and we hope to plan future build events with Habitat Guatemala. Before that time, we will continue to send our “house for house” contribution to both Malawi, Africa, and Guatemala. Each time we dedicate a home in Pinellas, we will also be celebrating (in spirit) the dedication of the “sister” home built with our contribution in either Malawi or Guatemala."
"Vamos a Construir!" (Let’s Build!)
We congratulate our Global Village volunteers on a job well done! Thank you and welcome home!
PHOTOS: Above, The Habitat Pinellas volunteers pose with Guatemalan homeowner candidates, Habitat Guatemala staff and local volunteers. Our team, clad in yellow t-shirts, included: Renee Athey, Gaby Camacho (team leader), Deanna D'Abbraccio, Kitty Handwerk, Jerry and Mary Miller, Barbara Morgan, Richard Pearson, Ron Spoor, and Dan Stowers. Below left, our volunteers hiked to a volcano on Saturday before returning home.Comments
Our Habitat Pinellas team took a brief respite from the build sites on Thursday to attend a home dedication, providing an opportunity to see how the homes they are working on will look once completed. In their messages to us, team leader Gaby Camacho and our COO Ron Spoor remarked on the similarities to our Habitat Pinellas dedications, as well as some of the differences specific to the region.
"It was such a beautiful ceremony," reports Gaby Camacho. "Ron had the opportunity to do an opening prayer, which I translated for the family. Then, Don Sergio, the guy that builds the windows and doors, read a passage from the bible. They (Habitat Guatemala) always choose the last person who worked on the house for this task. Later, Francisco, one of the site supervisors, closed the ceremony with a beautiful prayer. We all had a chance to introduce ourselves and to say something to the family."
"The house plan was the same as the one my team is building for Señorita Luisa and her grandparents," said Gaby. "It was nice to be able to see the house finished!"
Ron provided some details on the modest metal-roofed homes, and the cultural contrasts with homes we build in Pinellas County. "Just like the homes we are currently building on this trip, the dedicated home was a 2-bedroom/1-bathroom," explained Ron. "As you can imagine, the homes are very different than Pinellas homes. The square footage is in the 400 to 550 foot range. There are some electric fixtures and running water, and the kitchen sink is outside. The interior and exterior walls may have stucco or just exposed CMU and the floors are concrete. These homes are very plain, but they are a huge improvement from current conditions."
"These Habitat homeowners are very thankful for the opportunity and financial support from Habitat Pinellas (our house-for-a-house titheing program), as well as new friendships with our Pinellas team," said Ron. "The Habitat Guatemala staff indicates that our partnership with them is a significant motivating factor for them as they try to continue to serve residents of Guatemala."
Friday is the final work day for our Global Village team, who will fly home on Sunday, April 14th.
"We feel happy that we are getting back home," said Gaby. "But at the same time, I feel a void in my heart leaving the families, the staff, masons, helpers -- all those we have been so close to in the last few days."
PHOTOS: Above, the home dedicated on Thursday. Below, Habitat Pinellas volunteers Renee Athey and Kitty Handwerk team up with a Habitat Guatemala volunteer, Miguel. Inset, the family stands in front of their dedicated home. Visit our Facebook page to see more pics in our Global Village album!Comments
By mid-week, it seems our volunteer Global Village team has sharpened its skills! Ron Spoor let us know the group is acclimating to Habitat Guatemala's way of building. The volunteer team is working at two different sites, building for two Guatemalan families.
"Hot again today at 97 and humid," reports Ron. "But the crew was hard at work refining their new skills and making progress in masonry homes -- trying to improve skills at using a machete to cut concrete block (the local custom)."
But the grueling work is tempered by simple joys and many memories being made. After working tirelessly, the group enjoyed some just rewards after the shift with a little time to sight-see!
"Everybody here is very hospitable and make a great effort to help -- always with a great big smile!" said team leader Gaby Camacho. "Our build site -- with Dan Stowers, Mary Miller, Jerry Miller, Barbara Morgan and myself -- is a gorgeous farm with lots of mango, avocado, lima, jocote (very sweet and tasty fruit) trees surrounding the site. We have lots of fun joking around with the locals. I think the masons think we are a bunch of "locos gringos!"
"Today Señorita Luisa, our homeowner, brought us tortillas with guacamole...simply delicious! We couldn't say NO!"
"We're also enjoying the mangos that fall on our site," agrees Ron, who is working with Kitty Handwerk, Deanna D'Abbraccio, Renee Athey, and Richard Pearson. "We're making many new friends and learning some Spanish. And we had the opportunity to visit Mayan ruins after work today."
The stuff that memories are made of!
PHOTO: Volunteer Richard Pearson cuts a concrete block with a machete, which is the local construction practice.
Check back with our blog tomorrow for another update, or on our Facebook page!Comments