[News Release] – Mayor Laurene Weste, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, Vanessa Wilk, Lily Knight and over 300 local women helped build a community for veterans Saturday May 10th at the Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV Women Empowerment Build event. Empowered women built walls, plastered, fenced, planted trees, and participated in other important tasks completing over $80,000 worth of construction work and raising over $40,000 for a total of over $120,000! Their mission: to make the reality of the American Dream a bit closer for 87 low-income veteran families in Santa Clarita.
In addition to building homes, John Kraft, Director of Field Operations for Veterans’ Services Division of The California Department of Veterans Affairs, honored a local hero, Mayor Weste’s husband James McCarthy. McCarthy served in Korea during the Vietnam conflict; he was honored and awarded with a commemorative book, Korea Reborn, A Grateful Nation, the book was produced in cooperation of the United States and the Republic of Korea and honors those veterans who served and sacrificed for a free Korea.
Led by the 2014 Chairwoman, Cheri Fleming, owner of Valencia Acura and President of Soroptomist International, Women Empowerment Build encourages volunteers to make a difference and provides an opportunity for women to learn construction techniques in a supportive environment.
For this year’s Women’s Empowerment Build Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV raised money to build Dee’s Home! Dee N. is a United States Army Veteran. She served active duty for four years right out of High School and then served eight years in the National Guard with their Post Office. After service, she used her training with the National Guard to work for the United States Postal Service for 16 years. When Dee’s husband was diagnosed with Cancer, she left her job to take care of him. Shortly after his passing, Dee found herself taking care of her sister until she passed away. Dee found her caring for others to be a true calling and made a career change when one of her neighbor suggested she become a nurse. Today, Dee is a L.V.N. at Henry Mayo Hospital, studying to become a R.N. later this year.
Dee currently lives in a mobile home in Castaic with her granddaughter whom she is raising. She has always wanted to buy a home, but has never had the opportunity or wanted to ask for help. Dee was excited to learn that Habitat for Humanity’s Enriched Neighborhood™ for veterans was not a hand-out program, but a hand up. All homeowners pay a 30-40 year mortgage on their home and do 500 hours of sweat equity to help build their homes. Dee has been approved to move into one of the 87-homes in the Habitat Enriched Neighborhood™ being built on Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.
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