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Habitat for Humanity thanks supporters

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Dec. 3, 2010 at 6:03 a.m.

Supporters of Habitat for Humanity Victoria gathered at 77901 Friday morning to commemorate the organization's building of its 74th Habitat house.

Every house is built by someone. But God is the builder of everything.

HEBREWS 3:4

Beryl Bierman's reasons for supporting Habitat for Humanity are simple.

"My dad was an architect so I was always interested in building, and I am interested in building for people who need a home," she said.

She and her husband John Bierman have donated to Habitat for Humanity almost since its formation in Victoria. The organization was incorporated in 1994 and the first build completed in 1996.

The Biermans were among about two dozen Habitat supporters in attendance Friday at a Celebration Breakfast at 77901 in recognition for the 74th house being built by the organization. A similar breakfast was held Thursday with about 30 supporters in attendance.

On Friday, Habitat executive director Cynthia Staley introduced Mario and Gloria Gomez, who had a Habitat house built for them and their two children in 1997.

Since that time, they've added two children and Gloria has completed her college degree in computer technology from the University of Houston-Victoria. She now works on the staff at Perpetual Help Home and with the Victoria Homeless Coalition.

"It's given me the opportunity to go school, get a degree, and raise my family there," she said. "It keeps them in the same schools. We got to know the people around us."

"We came from Austin in 1996 and were living in an apartment with two small children," Mario Gomez said. "It was an awesome feeling to find out we qualified for a Habitat home."

The Gomezes have also helped on other builds.

"It gave me the opportunity to learn how to maintain my house. It also brought me joy knowing that I was helping someone else, even though I didn't know whose house it was," Gloria said.

One of the organization's founding board members Myra Starkey also addressed the gathering, telling the story of how she got involved helping start Habitat for Humanity in Victoria.

At the first informal meeting, hoping to attract enough people to form a steering committee to gauge if there was interest in forming a local chapter, 70 people showed up.

And from there, Habitat for Humanity Victoria took off.

"We built 11 houses in 11 months," Starkey said. "God delivered time and time again."

In his remarks, board vice president John Kisalus pointed out that Habitat builds have added $4 million worth of homes to the Victoria tax rolls and generate about $96,000 annually in tax revenue.

Staley said the Celebration Breakfast was held because "it was time to thank those who have helped us over the years."

"We're kind of gearing up for our 75th build," she said. "Next year we will celebrate 75 houses in 15 years of building."

Starkey also reminded those in attendance that Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry.

"It's not the board of directors doing it... it's the hand of God," Starkey said.

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