Barrier islands kick off Habitat home series

PHOTO PROVIDED Fundraising began a year ago for a new series of Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity homes built by area barrier island residents. A wall-raising on the first in the series was held Saturday in Englewood for Gabrielle Brady, a single mother of three.

PHOTO PROVIDED Fundraising began a year ago for a new series of Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity homes built by area barrier island residents. A wall-raising on the first in the series was held Saturday in Englewood for Gabrielle Brady, a single mother of three.

ENGLEWOOD — Gabrielle Brady feels blessed now that Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity has started building her a new home.

‘We live in a house right now but I struggle every month to pay rent,’ said Brady, a single mother of three sons. ‘I want them to come to a home that is theirs. I do this for them, not me.’

Brady applied for a Habitat home in June after a friend told her about the program. She was denied the first time but had better luck on her second attempt.

PHOTO PROVIDED Pastor Brian Brightly of Lighthouse United Methodist Church on Boca Grande blesses the wall-raising ceremony Saturday in Englewood at a new Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity home for the Brady family.

PHOTO PROVIDED Pastor Brian Brightly of Lighthouse United Methodist Church on Boca Grande blesses the wall-raising ceremony Saturday in Englewood at a new Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity home for the Brady family.

‘It’s very emotional,’ she said. ‘This past weekend, we put up the framing for the exterior walls.’

Residents of Boca Grande, Palm Island and Don Pedro Island raised the required $50,000 needed to start construction on a new home and plan on building two more homes as part of the new Island Build series.

Habitat held the Island Build Wall Raising Ceremony Saturday at David Place in Englewood on what will soon become Brady’s new home.

‘Not all our builds are sponsored,’ said Michelle Rumreich, director of development at Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity. ‘For this project, funds were raised. We’re doing special builds from the barrier island communities.’

Brady’s house is being built on foreclosed property owned by Chase Bank. A building was demolished so the home can be built.

‘Originally we set out for three homes for this project, but after talking to people, we thought why stop there?’ Rumreich said.

Most of the fundraising took place from January to March in each of the three barrier island communities.

‘It seems like in each community, someone spearheaded their own efforts. We have a very proactive community,’ Rumreich said.

Palm Island and Don Pedro combined efforts, creating a four-person committee that raised more than $5,000 and signed up about 15 volunteers.

Polly Woodworth, a seasonal Palm Island resident, is one of the members.

‘It’s always a pleasure to work with Habitat,’ Woodworth said.

Brady said she plans to continue volunteering for Habitat after her required 300 sweat equity hours are up.

‘It’s amazing,’ she said. ‘Habitat is not an organization. They’re a family. I’m truly blessed beyond words.’

PHOTO PROVIDED Volunteers from Boca Grande, Palm Island and Don Pedro Island came to the raise the wall Saturday on a new Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity home at 1645 David Place in Englewood for the 2013 Island Build Series.

PHOTO PROVIDED Volunteers from Boca Grande, Palm Island and Don Pedro Island came to the raise the wall Saturday on a new Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity home at 1645 David Place in Englewood for the 2013 Island Build Series.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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