Brother's efforts help woman get into new Habitat home in Hempfield
Gayle Heckman has a place to call home, thanks to the kindness of former strangers.
About a dozen members of Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity refurbished a residence for Heckman in Hempfield, just in time for Christmas.
“It's the best present ever,” Heckman said. “I told my brother I don't need anything else. This is perfect. It came at a great time.”
“It makes our Christmas, too,” said Jeff Dorko, a Habitat board member. “The fact it comes at Christmas is especially comforting for us and gratifying.”
Heckman, 73, a widow, had tears in her eyes as she entered her home in Grapeville on Saturday.
“They're still there,” Heckman said minutes later.
Habitat is a faith-based group that builds and repairs homes all over the world using volunteer labor and donations.
The local group's 12-member board of directors began work on the home about nine months ago. They framed, dry-walled, painted and installed a kitchen in converting the donated modular home.
“We did it, basically, from a shell,” Dorko said.
The project is the local group's 13th and the first for the new board of directors. The previous governing body disbanded nearly a year ago.
Contractors installed a water line and built a deck, Dorko said.
Heckman went on Habitat's list after her brother, Tom Anderson of Hempfield, began talking to Joseph “Jay” Cramer after tearing down a pool at Cramer's home.
Anderson told Cramer, a Habitat board member, about his desire to move his sister out of her Butler apartment and closer to him.
“I mentioned I was on the board, and we were in the process of preparing this trailer for occupancy,” Cramer said. “He asked where it was located.”
Anderson looked at the home and found it was perfect for his sister.
Heckman said her Butler apartment was costly to heat, and the concrete floor was hard on her surgically replaced knees.
“It's not a freebie,” Dorko said. “They are responsible homeowners who pay a mortgage. It's generally people on a fixed income who have a good credit rating.”
The new owner generally pays a mortgage related to the cost for materials to refurbish or build the house, said the Rev. Cassandra Robinson, the local group's president.
“Having this happen so soon is just inspiration to me,” Robinson said. “This is an epoch in my life to see someone able to occupy a home we put our blood, sweat and tears into.”
Anderson helped to build the home. A family member must contribute what Habitat calls “sweat equity.”
“She's my sister. It's that simple,” he said of his efforts.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- IRS scam snares another Westmoreland County resident
- Krieger to seek Westmoreland County Common Pleas judgeship
- Rustic Ridge Mine permit request criticized
- WCCC officials vow to erase $2.2M deficit
- Walker: Still time to recycle live Christmas trees in Scottdale
- New Derry woman charged after mail delivery of 4 pounds of marijuana
- Derry Township auto shop owner finds theft suspect hiding inside
- Salem man, in lockup in Greensburg shooting, charged with threatening to kill prison guard
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Tanker crash closes lane of Turnpike in Penn Township
- Ligonier Township residents voice concern to supervisors about new zoning ordinance