Building Homes and Friendships


MILTON, Vt.- Dick Shasteen has been working on a new Railroad Street home in Milton since his crew broke ground at the end of April. Shasteen is the Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Committee Chairman.

“Pope Francis house was an anonymous grant that we received that’s going to go a long ways in paying for this particular project,” said Shasteen.

The donation provided almost half the cost to build the house.

Shasteen’s crew are Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity volunteers who have been hammering away for a few days a week. The deserving family will contribute at least 200 hours to their new home.

“Our group is affectionately called the old geysers,” said Shasteen.

Shasteen says the ages of the core group of volunteers range from 50’s to 80’s, with a few younger volunteers here and there.

EJ Borsellino is one of those younger volunteers. Thursday was his first day on the job.

“It’s a great team effort for us all to be out here for the same cause,” said Borsellino.

Over the course of few hours, he and another volunteer put the siding on one portion of the home.

We’ll keep going until we end the day,” said Borsellino. Volunteers normally work from 8:00 a.m to 3 p.m.

Shasteen is one of the more seasoned volunteers. This is the14th home he’s built in about five years with the group.

“As we get near the end of the house, you know everything’s coming together, every single house I think we’re doing just a little better than the previous house. We’re innovating, we’re changing, we’re adding new features,” said Shasteen.

As the group is building homes, they’re also building friendships along the way.

We get together socially once in a while, we have cookouts and go to each others houses and our wives know each other,” said Shasteen.

Shasteen says the goal is for the family to move in by year’s end. 

“It’s a fun time. And then we’re all done and we’re thinking about, ‘ok, what are we gonna do next?’,” said Shasteen.

While the anonymous donation does help with about half the cost to purchase the land and build the home, the group is still looking for donations for the remaining amount. You can donate online or send a donation by mail to Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, 300 Cornerstone Drive, Suite 335, Williston, Vt 05495.

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