Two Habitat families to be neighbors

2013-06-15T11:00:00Z 2013-06-15T21:07:25Z Two Habitat families to be neighborsBarb Ickes bickes@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

The two new foundations are courtesy of two old foundations.

The Moline Foundation and the John Deere Foundation are behind the Quad-Cities' two newest Habitat for Humanity homes, being built side-by-side in a Moline neighborhood.

In groundbreaking ceremonies Saturday, the Moline Foundation's Joy Boruff said the first recipients of the Karen and Tom Getz Award for Excellence is fittingly bestowed upon the 83rd house to be built by Habitat in the Quad-Cities. Karen Getz died in 2007, and Tom passed away last year. They were supporters of all things Quad-Cities, investing their time, money and talent in their community in too many ways to count.

"Their work, their community involvement, lives on," Boruff said of the Habitat bequest.

Magen Mlekush and her two young daughters, Izabella and Liliana, are the direct benefactors of the whole-house donation from the Getz Award, and Mlekush said she "can't wait" to move her family into a home with a yard where her daughters can play.

"We can't wait, just can't wait," she gushed Saturday. "We've always lived in an apartment or apartment complex."

She even looks forward to investing the 250 hours of labor that is required of partner families by Habitat.

"Everyone's so nice that it's fun," Mlekush said of the sweat equity that is before her. "You have to have a good heart in order to do this. These people have good hearts. If it wasn't for people like them, people like us wouldn't have a chance."

Her new home also will come with new neighbors, including several children to help the Mlekush girls break in their new yard.

Ler Dah, his wife, Eh Christ Htoo, a niece, three children, and the children's grandmother will be living next door, courtesy of the John Deere Foundation, with infrastructure by Wells Fargo.

Originally from Burma, the extended family of seven will live in Habitat's "Home #82."

The family's mentor, Matt Zager, said the house will have several bedrooms to accommodate them.

Several past recipients of Habitat homes joined the groundbreaking celebration Saturday, which Dougal Nelson, Habitat's director of development, said is typical of the network of support that has emerged from effort to combat poverty.

"It's a tight-knit little group, because they work on each others' houses and get to know each other," he said. "They're kind of like me, and they get kind of wound up at these things. We're going to set 'em up for success."

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