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PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
REBUILDING LITCHFIELD TOGETHER
 

How it all began: Litchfield County Board of REALTORS®, Inc. Public Relations Committee believes REALTORS® need to give back to their communities by assisting with providing affordable housing and/or home repairs to members of their communities.  Our Board has supported the  Northwest CT Habitat for Humanity Chapter for many years and beginning in 2009, in an effort to help residents of Litchfield County in need of assistance with maintaining and making repairs to their homes, they worked with the Rebuilding Together Litchfield County organization.  They asked our members to volunteer by assisting with each organizations current project.  Volunteers spend the day by completing various tasks, such as, painting, construction, cleaning, yard work, etc.   Please read below for more information and pictures of past programs.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NW CT 2013

The Public Relations Committee held their annual Habitat for Humanity Work Day on May11th.  LCBR REALTOR® members, their family members and friends assisted the Habitat for Humanity Northwest CT chapter with a house in Norfolk.  Our Public Relations Committee Chair presented Habitat for Humanity NWCT with a check for $500 to assist with their Norfolk project. 

L to R: Lindsay Warner, LCBR, Public Relations Committee Member;
 Tracey Atwood, Habitat for Humanity NW CT, President;
Linda Hull, LCBR, Public Relations Committee Chair;
 Rick Bette, Construction Manager
 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NW CT 2012
 

The Public Relations Committee held their annual Habitat for Humanity Work Day on June 30th.  LCBR REALTOR® members and their family members assisted the Habitat for Humanity Northwest CT chapter with a house in North Canaan.  Our Public Relations Committee Chair presented Habitat for Humanity NWCT with a check for $1000 to assist with their North Canaan project. 

Back Row: David Hull
Front Row L to R: John Pogue, Habitat for Humanity NWCT;
 Linda Hull, LCBR Public Relations Committee Chair; Patty McAllister
 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NW CT 2011
 

Our Public Relations Committee presented John Pogue, HHNWCT Director, with a check for $1000 towards their current building site on 320 Salisbury Road in Canaan CT. To see a video of the presentation, click here.

L to R: Maria Bonetti, LCBR Director;
John Pogue, HHNWCT Director; Linda Hull, Public Relations Committee Chair
 

 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NW CT 2010
 

On May 8th Litchfield County of REALTORS®, Inc. President Maria Bonetti and Public Relations Committee Chair Linda Hull presented John Pogue, a representative for Habitat for Humanity Northwest Connecticut with a check for One Thousand Dollars ($1000.00) to help with their Falls Village Habitat Village.   Please read the following note our Habitat for Humanity project written by Maria Bonetti and pictures of the presentation.

Downpours of showers on May 8th may have stopped our work party from helping to build another Habitat home but it did not stop us from seeing a deserving family come closer to their dream.

Meeting at the last home nearing completion in the Falls Village Habitat Village, the rain came down in buckets.  Sitting against a beautiful wooded backdrop the front door was open.  Inside..  It was like a rainbow of color!  Apricot, lemon yellow, lime blue, pint and purple.  A large work party was gearing up to install the laminate flooring.  As as always... ever faithful,  the future owners John and Jennie painstakingly working on taping the basement stairwell.

Later in the day as I thought of the many colors in the house, a song came to my mind..."Somewhere over the rainbow" by Judy Garland.  Read the verse below and all the color choices perhaps have a new meaning......

"Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue...and the dreams that you dare dream really to do come true."

We all have a dream we wish to someday come true. Don't be afraid to dream.... Dreams can come true.  For John and Jennie, Habitat has given life to their dream. 

Maria Bonetti, President

Rick, Maria Bonetti, Linda Hull, John Pogue, David Hull
Linda Hull, David
Inside Falls Village Habitat Home
Falls Village Habitat Home
 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NW CT 2009
 

The following was written by President-Elect Maria Bonetti........On May 16, 2009, Linda Hull, Maria Bonetti, and Nicki Blass represented the Litchfield County Board of REALTORS®, Inc.  and presented a $1,000 donation from our Board to help the Northwest CT Habitat Chapter with the construction of the latest and last home in the Falls Village project. Along with the check presentation, we all dug in to help... we prepped windows to be hung, applied exterior wrap, measured and cut plywood. Some of us even climbed a shaky ladder. A quick passing rain shower couldn't dampen the spirits of those that attended to help Jenny Shippa and John Klauser's family build their new home. The couples children, Megan and Kaitlynn, will have lots of friends indeed as two other families in the Falls Village  Habitat cluster have families with children their age!

Rick
Bette and John Pogue not only had an eager work party from our Board but another surprise. Linda Hull and her husband David, who is the Deputy Commander for the Civil Air Patrol Cadets based out of the Torrington Armory, brought a van filled with Civil Air Patrol Cadets equally eager to help build a home. What a sight that was to arrive and see this group of young cadets helping to do whatever was asked of them. An interesting note... the Civil Air Patrol Program offers a work ethic that parallels our values. Members come from all walks of life, everyday hero's every day who strive to be "Citizens serving Communities". We as REALTORS
® are similar. We come from small offices.. maybe a large office. We are all different but we gather together like a family to give back to our communities. 
 

Jenny Shippa and John Klauser (the recipients of the house we were working on)

Front of House

Interior - Taken from the Living Room Looking into the Master Bedroom 

Rear of House

Civil Air Patrol Cadets

Nicki Blass

Linda Hull

(From left to right) Northwest CT Habitat members Rick Bette
 and John Pogue, Linda Hull, Maria Bonetti, Nicki Blass

 

Habitat for Humanity Project 2008

On September 6, 2008  the following members assisted Habitat for Humanity with painting the inside of a home Maria Bonetti, Ellen Waterhouse, Alan DiStasio and non member Susan DiStasio.  Read the email from Maria Bonetti below for more information.

Back from a day of painting. No fun.... no colors!! Just basic white. 

Our painting party was small but effective. Alan and Susan Distasio, Ellen Waterhouse, and of course me got our rollers ready and painted the primer coat throughout the living room, dining room, kitchen, mud room, the master bedroom hallway, and it's closet. Ellen probably is looking for a massage right now ... she painted ceilings. Alan went around and cut in the edges before joining Susan and I rolling out the walls.  After lunch, we headed back in for another coat of white. Now that got tricky!!! 

John Pogue and the new site manager also kept  busy hanging bedroom doors. John already hinted to me that he would enjoy another realtor painting party as the bedrooms were still being taped and drying today.  

Tentative move in day for Dinnie Light and his family is Thanksgiving. What a wonderful blessed gift that would be! Down in the cellar of the house is a beautiful china cabinet and dining room set that was given to them. Turkey will taste extra special on that day. 

As this project is almost completed, floor plans are complete for the next house to be built in this little village. The foundation has already been poured and capped.  The style is actually the same. It is quite possible that this home will have framing begun shortly. 

I've included a few photos of our day. I "unfortunately" dodged the camera's lens. Though our painting crew was small, we were without the press, we volunteered our time, it didn't matter. This was not the reason we came. I was returning for my third visit back, Allan and his wife, they are frequent volunteers as is Ellen. Helping out on this project is like watching a baby grow. Each time you return something new is being done. Every time you leave the project,  you leave with a humbling and overall good feeling that you have helped someone out that may not be as fortunate as you. Experience it once and you will see. 

Though there still is some finishing touches to be done, I see the light at the end of the tunnel in the journey for Dinnie and Leslie. An advertising slogan from an old Habitat commercial says it best.... As the young woman and her children are given the key to their new home .. she smiles and cries tears of joy .... "It's a good day."  Dinnie and Leslie... this will be you shortly. 

Maria

Habitat for Humanity Project in Falls Village, CT

Habitat for Humanity Project in Falls Village, CT

 

 

REBUILDING TOGETHER LITCHFIELD COUNTY 2011

On Saturday, April 30th volunteers assisted Rebuilding Together Litchfield County with a home they are working on in Warren.  Three of our member assisted with the project, Ellen Waterhouse, Cathy Baker and Barbara Lewis.
Rebuilding Together Litchfield County Project House
Cathy Baker, REALTOR®

Volunteers

 

REBUILDING TOGETHER LITCHFIELD COUNTY 2009
 

Rebuilding Together Litchfield County is an organization dedicated to preserving and revitalizing houses and communities, assuring that low-income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly, disabled and/or supporting young children, live in safety and warmth.   Below are some photos of our members working on the project. 

Linda Hull

Marcus Santore

Ellen Waterhouse

Marcus Santore

Marcus Santore

Linda Hull
 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOME DEDICATION 2008-    Habitat for Humanity with one of their project homes located in Falls Village. The following was written by Maria Bonetti after she attended the Habitat Home Dedication for the project house in Falls Village.  The next write up is from Alan DiStasio; both Alan and his wife have also worked on the house in Falls Village.

Hi..

Yesterday I attended the Habitat Home Dedication. Having never attended one before, it is a very moving experience. Going down the driveway to the house, I could see that the house was filled with people of all ages! Babies, young children, senior citizens, members of the Housatonic Valley Regional High School VoAg Dept., area business members... we all made room for one another. 60 people gathered in the Livingroom! What a difference from the last working party I attended! Cream colored walls, gorgeous wood floors throughout and lots of light flooded in through the windows. Katherine, Maya and Noah Light, the children of Leslie and Dinnie Light, were perhaps the most excited of all! They bubbled with joy and anticipation similar to kids looking at a big present with their name on it. If you think about it, this is a huge gift for them... they have never lived in a house before! 

The Light family was welcomed and greeted by Northwest Connecticut Habitat board members and also by First Selectman Pat Mechare. She welcomed Dinnie's family and joked that the children would bring the grammar school 3 added students bringing the student enrollment to 90 in grades kindergarten thru 8th grade!! 

Habitat and Affordable Housing are things that are Pat has a strong belief in. She brought out an important message. Our area is a beautiful area to live in but it is very hard for young families to "come home" and live. Habitat is allowing a family to achieve home ownership. In our beautiful area, the Northwest Connecticut Habitat group has built 7 homes, 4 of those in Falls Village, and one more is being built as we speak. Currently, the foundation, septic system and the framing has begun on the next home. The Site manager hopes to have the exterior shell up before it gets too cold so they can "keep the hammers humming" through out the winter months.

After Pat's welcome, we all gathered in celebration with a song written especially for the day. To the tune of "We Gather Together", the lyrics say it best... 

We gather together..
to ask the lords blessing on workers and family,
On place and on land.
We thank you for love..
for sweat and good labor,
for gifts and for favors..
for those lending a hand.

Scripture readings read by Board members and by another Habitat home recipient followed before the Rev. Erick Olsen dedicated the house. Walking through the home with the Lights, he blessed each room.
 
Before the Official Presentation to the family, Ellen Griesedieck spoke briefly about The American Mural Project. A huge Habitat supporter and volunteer, she spoke of her personal involvement and of a new mural she is creating. In the United States. 220,000 homes have been built by Habitat Volunteers. Inspired by this, she is gathering pieces of scrapwood signed with volunteers names and best wishes from each new Habitat home being built through out the United States to be added to a mural dedicated to the Habitat Organization.  On a table in the dining room, guests signed a piece of wood to be added to her mural. 


Thanking everyone, Leslie Light held back tears. She thanked everyone that made this dream come true for her family. A paraprofessional at Salisbury Central School, she was perhaps most touched by the children of the school....They got together and raised money to buy Leslie's family a Washer and Dryer. She also spoke of her excitement to finally have a real kitchen! Having lived in Apartments for 10 years, the beautiful kitchen filled with lots of oak cabinets and new appliances was a dream! 

At our Annual Meeting, Deb Stewart spoke of Volunteering. Volunteering makes things happen. Over the last two years, I have watched and helped this home to be built for a fantastic family. Dinnie, who works for the Town of North Canaan also volunteers as a Fireman. His ever constant devotion to family, his job, and as a Volunteer Fireman makes his family a perfect recipient for this home. Even though our work parties were small, our members volunteered to help frame, side, and paint this families new home. Volunteering to work on a Habitat home is a humbling experience. Experience it once.. get to know the families who have been given this wonderful opportunity and you will see and feel. Volunteering can be as simple as a few hours. Our Board Members volunteering along with assorted community members of all ages, students from public and private schools have worked together to bring this family "Home for the Holidays".

Below is a photo of Maya Light (she is on the left and her good friend)
 

 

The following was written by Alan DiStasio.

Marilyn, My wife and I have been consistently volunteering at this site since the summer and while we could not stay for the dedication on Saturday, we spent the morning helping prepare the house for the ceremony.  Not only has this experience been rewarding for us personally, we actually learned a number of new skills in the process. As Maria pointed out below, we started framing the 4th house at this project site and the hope is to get the shell up as soon as possible. Rick is the new construction supervisor and he hails from Litchfield. He is a real pleasure to work with. I encourage all LCBOR members to continue to volunteer whether it is a Board sponsored event or not. It is said that many hands make the burden light and it is never more so true at a Habitat site. Even if Board members cannot come put the word out, I am confident new people will step up. We did and friends of ours in town are now also regulars. Come once a month for a day or just a couple of hours on the weekend. Whatever works!

Thanks! 
Alan