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MailTribune.com
  • A home of their own

    Mother, 3 sons see hard work pay off with Habitat home
  • With a snip of the scissors, the bow on the front door of Rosa Gonzalez's new Medford home fell away.
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  • With a snip of the scissors, the bow on the front door of Rosa Gonzalez's new Medford home fell away.
    "Mi casa es su casa," she said with a smile.
    With that, Gonzalez became a first-time homeowner Saturday, just in time for Thanksgiving, and making her the beneficiary of the 44th house built by Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity.
    Habitat officials hosted a dedication ceremony at Gonzalez's new house on Gravenstein Way, off Orchard Home Drive.
    "Without your help, we couldn't have this house," said Gonzalez's oldest son, Christian, 12, to the gathered crowd
    Rosa Gonzalez contributed to her home's construction, logging nearly 600 hours of sweat equity, and will pay off the $115,000 house with a 30-year mortgage.
    More than 350 volunteers, many of whom came from several area churches through the Apostles Build Project, contributed to the effort with donated materials, funds and labor. Wells Fargo Bank also sponsored the project.
    "It's just amazing, the support that we keep getting," said Denise James, Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity executive director.
    Gonzalez said she, Christian and her other two sons, 11-year-old Kevin and 6-year-old Alan, used to live in a trailer in Phoenix. Gonzalez said the trailer was not in good condition and that the ceiling used to leak.
    "It was very small," Gonzalez said.
    Their new one-story home covers 1,100 square feet and has three bedrooms.
    James said families wanting to move into Habitat-built houses must be low-income and go through an application process to qualify. They must also contribute at least 500 hours of sweat equity to the home's construction. Gonzalez also took home-ownership education classes.
    "She's had to do a lot of work," James said.
    The Gonzalez family received several gifts at the dedication ceremony, including a Bible, linens, blankets and a tool kit. Grocery Outlet stocked her new cupboards and presented Gonzalez with a $200 gift certificate for additional shopping.
    "This particular one was fun, because I themed it on Thanksgiving food," said Grocery Outlet manager Sherina Noon.
    Denise James said the dedication ceremonies are her favorite part of the process.
    "When you get to hand over the keys, and the family knows it's theirs," James said.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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