“Low income should not be confused with low quality,” Kevin says. “These homes are very well built.” He says he likes working with the families, and enjoys the everchanging work as the houses progress. “It was exciting to see the walls go up, the roofs go on, then the windows and now thefamilies are installing kitchen cabinets and flooring.”
Project Manager Larry Vermeulen was delighted to have the extra help and wasted no time in finding jobs for the entire team. They cleaned up the site, loaded trash onto the trailer, and spread backfill. The hardy took a turn at digging the gas-line trench. “If other corporate teams would donate a morning or afternoon shift focusing on a specific task like this, it would significantly move us forward,” said Vermeulen.
She graduated from Sonoma State in 2010, lived in Atlanta short-term and did her fair share of traveling, but she came back in 2015 to be closer to the family and community she had missed so much.
“Renting at low-income facilities can be tricky,” said Delia López. “I am looking forward to not having to renew yearly leases and I am also the most excited about being able to have as many nails on these walls as I want.”
The Rodríguez family has seen incredible support from close friends, coworkers, and family members, but they would like to give some special thanks to the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and Grace Episcopal Church as they have either provided food during days of hard work or have sent volunteers to help with construction.
Twenty-two years ago, right after getting married in Oaxaca, Mexico, Julio Olguín Olivera and Alma Martínez de Olguín settled in St. Helena. Since then, they’ve formed a family and raised their kids: Mary, 22; Brandon, 20; and 15-year-old twins Camila and Julio. Julio Olguín Olivera has worked in the wine industry Read more…
Salomon works as a foreman at Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, so commuting from his current address in Middletown to his full-time job in addition to the commitment of this project intimidated him at first.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Salomon said. “I am required to put in 32 hours a week and it is just me.”
Martha Rodríguez, now the head of the household, can say with pride that all of her daughters are attending school and that she sees a bright future ahead of them. Veronica Salto Rodríguez is studying to become a teacher. Marylu Aviña Rodríguez is currently studying at USC, Cristy Aviña Rodríguez is at UC Berkeley, and Araceli Aviña Rodríguez is a senior at St. Helena High School.
Victor’s parents immigrated to St. Helena from Mexico, like so many before them, seeking better opportunities for their children. They stressed the importance of education from a very early age. They wanted to make sure their children took advantage of opportunities to go to college.
Larry has been responsible for keeping Brenkle Court, our USDA Rural Development Mutual Self-Help project on track and moving forward. His job includes ordering materials, scheduling inspections and subcontractors. More important: He’s turned a group of rookies lacking any construction experience into a skilled, functioning team.