Local 102 IBEW, our generous supporters for our past four homes, donated their electric skills during the build of the Boucherbit- Lahmar home. Pictured- Nick Castello, Local 102 IBEW Business Manager, Wafa Lahmar, Khaled Boucherbit and children, new Habitat homeowners and Matthew Buckelew, Local 102 IBEW Business Agent.
A year ago, the dream of home ownership was just that, a dream, for the Boucherbit – Lahmar family. Living in a cramped one-bedroom apartment in Hillsborough, this family of new US citizens had emigrated from Algeria in 2010 without knowing English and without any family in the area. Khaled, the father, found employment as an applications engineer for a local energy company and was able to support his family of four. Wafa is a stay at home Mom, caring for her two children, daughter Maysa, age five, and son, Idriss, age three.
But the American dream of home ownership was out of their reach until they completed an application for home ownership with Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH), a Habitat for Humanity International affiliate serving Somerset and Hunterdon counties. The Boucherbit-Lahmar family received the keys to their new home on Churchill Avenue in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, Somerset County, at an emotional dedication ceremony on Saturday, July 23rd. The family, staff and volunteers from the construction crew, RVHFH board and other volunteers, Mayor Phil Kramer, Reverend Ivan Watson and others from the community were on hand to celebrate the completion of this year-long labor of love and to bless and dedicate the home.
Mrs. Boucherbit-Lahmar expressed her “deepest gratitude and appreciation. I can’t even explain it, my heart is beating so fast, we are owners of a house now, we have property, privacy. Our dream is now a reality. I touch the floor and wall and its real. We have a new family in Habitat for Humanity, a new sense of stability, and a new place for my kids to play.” Maysa chimed in, “Thank you for my new room!”
It does indeed “takes a village” to build a Habitat for Humanity home, including over 9,000 volunteer hours to complete this home. David Polomski, Construction Manager, described how a regular group of volunteers return week after week to work “whatever the weather”, demonstrating “phenomenal dedication.” Jan Holmstrup, Executive Director, described how the completion of this home through the work of many volunteers “shines a light on our shared values” and “exemplifies Habitat’s philosophy and mission.” Dick Carr, long-time volunteer and co-chair of the Building Committee, explained how building this home was “not just a hobby, but an emotional project.”
The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and Somerset County’s HOME Investment Partnership Program and Homelessness Trust Fund Program were the principal sponsors of the home. Volunteers from many local businesses, large and small, contributed greatly to the build effort, and local companies including Fin Pro, Synchrony Financial and Wells Fargo Bank provided generous funding to support the project.
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity has built over 49 homes in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, and is about to complete its 50th home. The organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year at its Dream Builders Gala on October 6th at The Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ.
For more information on Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity and how to get involved, please go to www.rvhabitat.org, or call 908-704-0016.