By Tammy Daniels
07:04PM / Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Bordeau cuts the cake at Sunday's celebration with co-President Elizabeth Goodman. In the back is board member Jenny Dunning.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A few years ago, Kelly Bordeau didn't think she had a chance at getting a new home.
But her friend Alison Rice encouraged her to apply to Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
And on Sunday, Bordeau and her daughter Danni, 11, took possession of a three-bedroom house, becoming Rice's neighbor and the final owner in the cluster of Habitat houses built or renovated on West Shaft Road.
"It's nice being on my own. It's nice having the home my responsibility," she said, laughing, "it makes me more cautious about money."
Sunday's official handover came after hundreds of hours of volunteer labor and donations and support from dozens of businesses and contractors in the area.
Keith Davis, co-president of the nonprofit organization, said the group has built or renovated more than a dozen homes in the North Berkshire region since it's founding in 1990.
"This took about a year and four months," he said. "It was existing but it was in very bad shape. It took a lot of work."
The two-story home was re-sided, landscaped and painted. A dormer was built for the upstairs bathroom — Davis said it was hard to stand up in — and a new kitchen was installed by Brad Schueckler of Benchmark Kitchens, a member of the board of directors.
This was Schueckler's third Habitat house, and he "voluntold" Craig Hartman to help him install cabinets at the last house; now Hartman's part of the Habitat community having done the roofs on both Rice's and Bordeau's houses.
"What I love the most is working with these people, they'll just give you the shirt off your back, they'll be there, they'll help you," Davis said. "They're just wonderful people. You'd think digging a 4-foot hole full of rocks would be hard ... but somehow it turns out to be fun."
Davis ticked off a long list of volunteers, such as Mark and Cindy Vadnais who were there every week, Tom Bator and Jay Petri who donated time and equipment for the foundation and landscaping, and the students at Drury's computer-assisted drafting and construction classes who designed and built a shed for Bordeau.
Bordeau, a pediatric nurse, thanked those who helped her with her new home and said she'd learned a lot doing the sweat equity required by each Habitat homeowner.
"A lot of it was painting, insulating. We did siding. There' was so much," she said. "The bathroom was a huge part .. me and Cindy [Vadnais] worked on that. There was sheetrocking, filling in all the holes for painting. There was everything."
With this cluster built out, Habitat is looking to build in Williamstown in new format. Co-President Elisabeth Goodman said the organization has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust to develop two lots.
"It includes a public process so we will have hearings on the plans," she said. "The lots will be ultimately restricted for affordable housing ... They will be homeowner owned, but when they sell, it will be affrodabe. We think it can work out."
The nonprofit is also working on some smaller projects, part of its "Brush with Kindness" for eligible peple who need minor exterior home repairs. Davis said they are working on some porches and stairs, at the moment.
Sunday, however, was a time for celebrating a completed project. Stop & Shop provided a cake, Big Y some chocolate chip cookies, and Where'd You Get That!? the blue and white balloons. The Rev. David Mangun gave a prayer, and Bordeau was presented the keys and with the manuals for maintaining her house.
And with the clip of a pink ribbon across the front steps, she was home.
A-1 Septic, Adams Community Bank, Adams Public Library, Aladco, Avangrid, Tom Bator, Benchmark Kitchens, Beth Davis, Big Y, Bike and Build, Bounti-Fare Restaurant, Carr Hardware, city of North Adams, Drury High School drama and DPAM classes, First Baptist Church, Frist Congregational Church of Williamsown, George Galli, Grazie's Ristorante, C.M. Hartman, James and Joan Hunter, James and Robert Hardman Fund, McClain Electric, MountainOne Bank, Network for Good, Petri Contracting, r.k. Miles, Robin Lenz, Schneider Electric and St. John's Church.