A new home was built for a single-parent family in Sturgeon Bay this summer, but at the Oct. 26 dedication of the new home, it was evident that this was much more than a construction project, and that a deep and lasting bond was built between the volunteer home builders and the family for whom the home was built.
“There aren’t enough words to express my gratefulness to the crew of volunteers that have become my family,” said Kendra Clarizio-Bilodeau during the dedication for her new home, the 40th home built by Door County Habitat for Humanity.
She told the family and friends and volunteer crew who assembled for the dedication that as a single parent, she had always relied on “me, myself and I” to get things done. But last January when she received notice that rent for the apartment where she lived with her two children was going up $75 a month, at first she cried, wondering what she would do.
“I needed help,” she said, “words too foreign to someone who has done it all ourself. As a single parent, we don’t ask for help because we are full of pride in doing it ourselves.”
But she decided to swallow that pride and last February investigated Habitat for Humanity’s home-building program.
“And,” she said from the porch of her new home, “here we are.”
After leading the volunteers in a cordless drill salute to volunteer Roger Nulton, who died at the age of 86 on Aug. 27, Kendra caused some tears to roll as she celebrated, with breaking voice, the volunteers who put in 3,766 hours building her home.
“The impact that you have made to my kids’ lives will never be forgotten, and will be lifelong lessons,” she said. “It was one thing to touch my soul but the role models that you’ve been for Matthew and El is the highest. It’s what this world needs more of.”
She also vowed to be alongside the next group of volunteers in building the 41st Habitat for Humanity in Door County.
The dedication included blessing the house and presentation of a family Bible by Rev. Richard Feyen, a presentation of a bookcase and books from Altrusa, and the presentation of a toolbox by Gregory Dietz on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
Door County Habitat for Humanity is looking forward to its 41st home build, and is seeking the next partner family. Applications are available at the Habitat for Humanity office on 410 N. 14th Ave., Sturgeon Bay. Applications are always accepted for future home builds.
Since Door County Habitat for Humanity started in 1993, they have built homes throughout the county, providing decent and affordable homes for 130 people, including 88 children. The homes have a fair market value in excess of $3 million dollars.
Partner families are selected based on their willingness to contribute sweat equity (Kendra and her children put in 343 sweat equity hours), their ability to pay the mortgage, and their need for decent and affordable housing.
For more information, contact Habitat for Humanity at 920.743.2869, email at [email protected] or visit doorhabitat.org.