Aurora Family Literally Gets a Home for the Holidays
- Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Al Benson of Aurora.
Christmas came early for the Zemuy Zeray family of Aurora.
On Saturday (Dec. 10, 2016), the family received keys to its Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity home at 609 N. Elmwood Drive.
Marking a months-long renovation by hundreds of volunteers, Aurora-based Fox Valley Habitat dedicated the Zeray home with prayers, scripture readings and presentations.
The house is Habitat’s 56th in Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery since the Christian housing ministry’s founding in Aurora in 1989.
The dedication, Habitat’s second in two weeks, unveiled the future home of the Zeray family: partriarch Zemuy Zeray, wife Gebriala Gebremeskel, son Nahom Gebremichael and grandmother Tsgehana Zeweldi.
The Rev. Jeff Barrett, Habitat CEO and pastor of Genesis Community Church in Montgomery, presided.
Tessu Gedar, pastor of Maranatha Evangelical Church, Chicago, gave an opening prayer.
After the Rev. Bartrett introduced Habitat board members and guests, other speakers included Zeray, Fourth Ward Alderman Bill Donnell; Illinois State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and Ron Kelso of Yorkville, Habitat For Humanity board vice chair.
The presentation really was like a scene out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Kelso presented a copy of his book “Habititus,” a children’s book that tells the Habitat story. The Rev. Barrett presented a family bible and Debbi Albright, Habitat operations director, presented house keys.
A prayer by pastor Gedar, refreshments and self-guided tours of the house closed the event.
Funding partners were Community Foundation of Fox Valley, Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, Anixtr, Aon, Travel and Transport, O’Cedar, Meadowvale and Attorney General National Foreclosure grant program.
Volunteers included East Aurora High School students led by Kurt Rowley, building trades instructor, and Boy Scout Troop 849 based at Big Woods Church in Eola.
Volunteers made the home handicapped accessible to accommodate Zeray who is wheelchair bound.
The 1,200 square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bath ranch house features a living room, eat-in kitchen, back deck and two-car detached garage. Occupancy is expected next month.
Volunteers and donations are needed to continue Habitat’s housing ministry.
Habitat seeks churches to partner in Faith Build 1017, a group effort to build a Habitat home in Aurora. Some 29 churches are committed to the project with a goal of 50 partner congregations.
About Fox Valley Habitat For Humanity
Founded in 1989, Fox Valley Habitat For Humanity, 250 S. Highland Ave. in Aurora, partners with working families in Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery to provide basic, affordable shelter. Partner families pay for their homes with no-interest mortgages and contribute up to 500 hours of volunteer labor called sweat equity.