It's a rewarding day of hard work with a great bunch of people on a beautiful summer day made even more special by the fact volunteers are helping Habitat for Humanity do something it's never done before.
Flower City Habitat for Humanity has built 152 homes and revitalized 5 inner city neighborhoods. But Habitat has never done anything like this before. They're rebuilding a home at 732 Bay Street in Rochester.
Kathy Bilbo and her family moved into the original Habitat house here in April of 2006. But last November, in a horrible tragedy, the house burned and three children died in the fire. The entire Habitat family was stunned. But being family they offered to build another house for Kathy at the same location.
Flower City Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Arthur Woodward says "She loved this neighborhood and the family loved this neighborhood and she had waited 2 years for us to find her a house, 2 years. And this was the place she wanted to be."
Most of the the community leaders working on Kathy Bilbo's new home have volunteered with Habitat before and consider it a privelage to help with this project. Eric Zeller from Zeller Electric says "I think it's great that the woman who had all the losses is able to come back to where she wanted to be in the first place. I mean I think that's heroic."
"It's been a tough time for the Bilbo family already" says Don Lasher of Buckingham Properties. "It's just nice being able to help them out going forward. Give them another chance."
Harry Messina is an attorney with Woods Oviatt Gillman. "I think it is very significant because not only are we helping this family come back together after as horrible tragedy. But we're helping them to stay in the same place, not giving up. It's a strong symbol for them as well as for us."
Brenda Gonzales is learning what it means to be part of the Habitat family. The mother of three is working with Habitat to achieve her dream of owning a home and wants to help Kathy rebuild. "The first day you start your comfortable with them because that's how they make you feel. We are a family, we are a big family."
Insurance is covering most of the cost for rebuilding the Bilbo home. Habitat is picking up the rest. Arthur Woodward says his team could build 15 houses a year in Rochester if they had the financial backing. As it stands now they can only afford to build 9 or 10. If you'd like to support them financially or donate a day of work click here or call 585-546-1470.