Talon News - Good Local News

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A HOUSE

Part Two

 

Catalina Files, Matriarch; Daniel Evans, Store Manager; Hailey Tafoya, Future Homeowner

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) is based on the Christian principle, "It's a hand up, not a handout." Hailey Tafoya's house will be finished in a few more weeks. Among other requirements, she still has part of her two hundred "sweat equity" hours to put into the building of her home. Besides being mother to two small children and working full time, she hopes to boost her skills as a beautician by taking special classes held in Durango. She continues to do on-site clean-ups and provide lunches for the building crews when she can. As the house progresses and time permits, she will be doing some of the indoor painting and other odd jobs.

Because the house is being built by volunteers, no one can foretell the exact date when Hailey will finally take possession. These individuals may have families, jobs, school or whatever, yet some spend hours, days, weeks, or even months of their own time benefiting others. Then there are the givers, those who share just as freely with their donations as the builders do with their skills. Sometimes those donations are money. Sometimes it is building materials that can be used in the construction of an HFH house or it may be household items that can be sold to raise more money.

Tres Rios ReStore in Farmington accepts new and used items, overstock from businesses, leftovers, if any, from previous builds and a myriad of other things. In turn, these items are offered for sale to the public. As San Juan Habitat's only employee, store manager Daniel Evans is the man responsible for operating the store, receiving donated items, doing pick-ups and deliveries, managing the books, meeting and greeting the public, communicating through HFH events and Facebook, and updating portions of the Tres Rios Habitat website.

Daniel affectionately introduces Catalina Liles, a non-Habitat employee, as "the matriarch of the organization." She tells us, "A large percentage of the monies raised each year comes from the ReStore. Habitat builds one house a year. That's how much money we can raise." Although she is not a Habitat employee, besides Daniel, "Cat" is the only regular, almost-daily person there. "I love the people. I love the mission. I love helping families get a home," she said.

Daniel takes pride in the fact that "We've built ten houses in San Juan County - one each in Shiprock, Kirtland, La Plata and Bloomfield, two in Farmington, three in Aztec and now Hailey Tafoya's house." Pointing out various items around the store, Daniel's enthusiasm is contagious as he passionately regales, "It's about the house. That chair, those tiles, that window, everything here. It's all about the house."

In addition to his ReStore duties, Daniel works closely with the Tres Rios Board members. Throughout the year, not only are these twelve members busy screening applicants, they are actively involved within the community and are always looking for new ways to raise funds for one more home. Right now everyone is gearing up for the Tres Rios Habitat For Humanity Golf Tournament, which is not only fun for the participants and the onlookers, it is also bringing in a tidy sum for the HFH funding coffers.

Volunteers and donors are the backbone of any nonprofit organization. Without the builders this house would not be built. Without the financial donors building materials would not be supplied. Without all these people, Hailey and her children would not be buying this house.

Hats off to all who see a need and fill it.

 

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