By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Mother’s Day Weekend could not have been a more appropriate time for the special occasion.
After all, it was a virtually entire women’s work team that made 15 1/2 Overlook Place, Newburgh’s 8th Women Build House, a finished reality. Saturday, in front of a joyful crowd, that home was officially turned over to the homeowners, Lenin, Maria and family. Guided by female leaders, along with a hard working crew surpassing 75 percent of female volunteers, the City of Newburgh residence, has now joined a host of other neighboring Habitat homes in the Washington Heights community. The Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh Dedication ceremony, which capped off National Women Build Week, was the icing on the cake of a long, arduous journey for the proud, new homeowners.
“My dad has been here in this country for 22 years, working 12 hours a day during that time,” pointed out Maria. “We don’t get to see him a lot, but this has been a dream he has wanted to come true for a long time.” That dream was greatly assisted by Women Build House Captains, Celeste Bloomer and Cornelia Gallagher, both on hand Saturday to share in such special moments as the Passing of the Keys as well as House Blessing segments.
“We had it very easy, as there were so many people surrounding us with love, such as the neighbors putting up with all the noise and traffic, and the number one rule we learned was: What happens at 15 1/2 Overlook stays here,” said a smiling and very proud Bloomer, who turned to the family, adding, “It has been a joy working with you,” then addressing the crowd, “It has been an honor to build for this family; not one day did they not greet us with a smile, always doing whatever we asked of them.”
Although there was a slight, ongoing mist during festivities, in no way did that deter from the heartfelt joy that enveloped the day.
In fact, Cathy Collins, Habitat Newburgh Executive Director, even pointed to the raindrops as a positive. “In Native American tradition, rain is an auspicious sign,” said Collins, who added further words at the conclusion of the Ceremony, prior to guests being invited to tour the home as well as enjoy refreshments.
“This crew of women is just incredible; most groups don’t have women who build all together like we do,” explained Collins, as she then turned to the new family home owners, “You will have a house filled with love.”
Just after a woman from the Washington Heights community surprised the family with a colorful, welcoming bouquet of flowers, Collins, smiling, added, “This is what it’s all about; may this fill your heart with many more Mother’s Days to come.”