La Verne, meet your new neighbors, the Chavira family.
Carlos, wife Heidi, son Carlos, Jr., and daughter Mia were welcomed to their new home at 1520 First Street in La Verne on March 4, 2017 by a tightly knit throng of enthusiastic sponsors, supporters, donors and friends who rallied behind the family and the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity’s (PVHFH) ongoing mission to provide decent, safe and affordable housing for low-income residents in the West Inland Empire and East San Gabriel Valley.
PVHFH had notified the Chaviras that they had been selected as a “Habitat” family back in December 2014, so when they were actually handed the keys to their new home, they still had difficulty processing the joyous occasion.
“It was surreal then when we were selected, and it’s still surreal now,” Heidi said, standing in her new living room.
Carlos, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2004-2009, including two tours in Iraq, said the approximate three-year wait went by quickly for him.
“We were working continuously on other Habitat houses,” he said.
Construction on the Chavira home actually began at the Fairplex show grounds about three years ago. After the structure was completed, it was transported in two sections, over city streets and railroad tracks, to its new home where it was wired, plumbed and connected to local utilities.
“We always knew this day would come, we just didn’t know the exact date,” PVHFH president and CEO Jody Gmeiner said. But the day always arrives at the right time.
“We are so blessed by the community,” she added, “and it is truly the community’ house, which is part of our mission statement.”
Ron Bolding, chairman of the Homeowner Selection Committee, said he and the committee faced a difficult task in making their final choice.
“They were all very worthy,” Bolding said. “Certainly a big part of our decision was considering the circumstances each family was living in at the time. We looked at where they were living … were they living in a garage or a gang-infested area?
“This family had a number of conditions that warranted them being first. They were very patient.”
The City of La Verne, which partnered with Habitat on this latest house-raising, made only one stipulation as to the kind of family it wanted to see move in. It had to be a veteran, but not necessarily from La Verne.
In fact, the Chaviras came from La Puented.
“Carlos wasn’t a La Verne veteran, but he’s a La Verne veteran now,” Mayor Don Kendrick acknowledged.
A long line of supporters stood their turn at the porch to greet the family with housewarming gifts, ranging from quilts to potted plants ready to be sunk into the ground. Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Tim Hepburn’s company, Gehl Electric, Inc., donated the electrical throughout the home.
“We can never show our veterans enough support,” replied Hepburn about why he participated in the project. As far as my business goes, I found it was the right thing to do, and as they are new neighbors of mine, that was even more reason to get involved.”
Scott Hay’s company, Exciting Windows and Doors, donated the window coverings.
“Helping a family realize the dream of home ownership is very special,” Hay said. “The family participated in creating their own home, so it was important for me to do my part as a neighbor in welcoming them to our great city.”
There was lots of applause to go around for all the contributors who made the Chaviras’ move-in day extra special. Some of those cheers went to construction manager Luis Jimenez for his ability to turn volunteers who had never picked up a hammer or a shovel into productive laborers.
“At times it was like working with ‘The Three Stooges,’ ‘The Little Rascals’ and the cast from ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ but we got the job done,” he said.
Indeed, it took a village of hundreds to get the job done, and the Chaviras beyond their wildest dreams now have a beautiful three-bedroom, two-bath home at one of the key southern gateways to the city that they and the entire city can be extremely proud of.
Below are some of the contributors who made the Chavira’s new house a home!
La Verne Sponsors
City of La Verne, Ludwick Foundation, ADP Corporation, Fairplex, First American Title, Home Depot Foundation, Jefferson Hill/Roberta’s Village Inn, Tri-County Association of Realty, Realty One, Glendora, Ring Container, Safelight Auto Glass.
La Verne Donor Materials
American Raingutter, Bob Cheney Plumbing, Clear Choice Windows and Doors, Compare Carpets & Hardfloors, Inc., Norco, Cost Plus Mattress, Patrick Diaz Landscape Architect, Exciting Windows and Doors, Gehl Electric, Inc./Tim & Patty Hepburn, Permeco, Calportland, Rain Guard Roofing.
La Verne Dedication Sponsors
Inland Empire Quilts of Valor, Starbucks, La Verne, Albertsons Bakery, San Dimas, Cheese Platters – The Cheese Cave, Claremont Meat Platters– The Corner Butcher, La Verne, Flag Platters – Eileeen Ansari, Strawberries – Vargas Farms, Proctor and Gamble, Balloon Arrangement – Carrington Mortgage Services, Photography – Carlos Cordova, Ma & Pa Kettle Korn – Ralph & Kay Floto.
Home Appliance Sponsors
La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church – donations of monies for a washer and dryer
Whirlpool – donation of refrigerator and stove
Faith and Community Groups
Delta Sigma Theta, Faith Community Church, First Presbyterian Church, Upland La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church, La Verne VFW!