GLOVERSVILLE - Francine Nunziata embraced those who helped Saturday during the Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County's dedication ceremony of the two-year renovation of her 27 Wilson St. home.
This Wilson Street home was the local chapter's eighth completed renovation, and executives, volunteers and the newly sheltered family shared a message of improvement - improvement of the house, improvement of the community and improvement for the Nunziatas.
Nunziata and her three of her four children - Troy, Ryan and Jasmine - will be living in the home, and the mother expressed gratitude to the organization and the volunteers who helped.
Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County President Naquana Mitchell, right, talks Saturday with volunteer Sylvia Howard, left, at the dedication ceremony at 27 Wilson St. (The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini)
"It's the beginning of a new life," she said. "I never thought I could afford my own home. I never thought I could afford one as great as this is. It's a new start in life for me. I met a lot of new people - a lot of great people. It restored faith in humanity. These people gave endlessly every Saturday."
For the volunteers, their work is done for a sense of assistance, for both their sake and the people they are helping. Sylvia Howard, volunteer and wife of HFHFC Vice President Gary Howard, said she partakes in the organization's efforts simply to assist people.
"I love people, and I wish I could give everybody a better life," she said. "It's a life-changing experience."
The Habitat for Humanity organization relies on volunteers and donations to rebuild houses and offers no-interest mortgages for families who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a traditional mortgage. But what's more important to the people involved is the work and services they provide for families.
"It's very rewarding," said Website and Volunteer Coordinator Ruth Mandato. "You go home, you're dirty and you're so tired, but you know you did something good with your day. I don't think people realize you have fun. It's a learning experience for everybody."
Recently appointed HFHFC President Naquana Mitchell - who took over for the late Bob Eadicicco - said her interest in the organization lies with her belief that the community needs to be rebuilt.
She said that the organization's projects are more than just fixing a house. They're about providing affordable housing one at a time and changing the neighborhood and community for the better.
"I just think putting that good vibe into the community, and having a place where the [people] can drive by and see everybody getting together," Mitchell said. "This is not necessarily about money that you can get out of this organization. You can give your time if you don't have the means to give financially. If you give me a Saturday, I'll take that over 50 bucks or a $100 donation."
The HFHFC's new strategic plan is to build or renovate one new house each year, and its next project will be renovating the house at 71 Bloomingdale Ave. The organization will host a pasta and wine-tasting fundraiser 6 p.m. July 14 at St. Patrick's Masonic Lodge in Johnstown for the project.
For more information or tickets, call 773-4912. Tickets will cost $10.
John Borgolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.