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Participating in the ribbon cutting of the  new duplex in Dover are (l to r): Doug Wright, Morris Habitat Construction Manager, Don Harris, Morris Habitat Site Supervisor, Carolyn Harakshin, Morris Habitat Director of Homeowner Relations, Katie Mallard, volunteer Family Mentor, Tom Hayes, New Jersey Natural Gas, Director- Customer & Community Relations, James Dodd, Mayor, Dover, Mercedes Benjamin, new homeowner, John Martin, Morris Habitat Site Supervisor, Janeth Calle, new homeowner, Becky Smith, Girl Scout Troop 80930, Long Valley, Tim Tansey, Morris County Community Development Director, Blair Schleicher Bravo, Morris Habitat Executive Director.    

RANDOLPH, NJ-  Morris Habitat for Humanity recently welcomed two new homeowners -- Mercedes Benjamin and Janeth Calle -- both longtime residents of Dover, NJ.  Tom Hayes, Director-Customer & Community Relations for New Jersey Natural Gas, the duplex sponsor, aptly summed up the feelings of the day.  “Today, New Jersey Natural Gas is helping these families, one of whom lived in a damp basement apartment and the other in a cramped attic apartment, to move into a home that has both of those areas for storage PLUS two additional levels for family living. What can be better?”  These are the 8th and 9th homes that New Jersey Natural Gas has sponsored in Morris County. The company is looking forward to partnering with Morris Habitat on another potential Dover site that will consist of four single family homes. 

In addition to recognizing sponsors, the dedication ceremony honored those who gave more than  2,000 volunteer hours to help build this duplex over the past 18 months. Special mention was given to Yoram Meyer (Morristown), Gerry Karg (Riverdale) and Al Moor (Towaco), each of whom gave over 300 volunteer hours at this construction site.  Youth were also well represented, with students from Bonnie Brea School in Liberty Corner and Lincoln Tech in Mahwah donating time and Becky Smith, from Girl Scout Troop 80930, Long Valley refurbishing dining room tables and chairs and collecting board games as part of her Gold Award.  As “family time” is important to Becky, she wants these families to be able to interact and socialize the old fashioned way---without electronics!  Girl Scout Troop 649 from Randolph filled several baskets with household items for the families 

But at the end of the day it is all about the families and both were very grateful to all who contributed.  Janeth Calle spoke about how “Some say dreams are just that and you need to keep your feet on the ground. But to make dreams come true you need to keep your chin up and work hard,., step by step. Now my dream has become a reality.”  Mercedes Benjamin said “Coming from a basement apartment I am so happy to have “light”, heat, and functioning appliances!” These are basics which most of us take for granted.  

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About Morris Habitat for Humanity

Morris Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles by building homes, communities and hope. Morris Habitat is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; advocating for fair and just housing policies; and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their living conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. Morris Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.  

Since 1985 Morris Habitat has served 280 households though home ownership opportunities, home preservation, and international home building programs. Morris Habitat has set a goal of 9 housing starts for 2014, completing 19 homes at 8 different sites during the year. In addition, proceeds from the ReStore, opened May 2007, have built 11 homes and diverted almost 4,000 tons of useable material out of landfills.  Located at 274 South Salem Street, Randolph. Store hours: Tues 12 - 8 p.m., Wed & Fri 10  - 6 p.m., Thur 10 - 8 p.m., Sat 10 - 5 p.m.  


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