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Beach residents offer a hand up to a needy family in Lee County

March 17, 2011
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fort Myers Beach residents Gerry and Sharon Trantina recently made the decision to personally sponsor a Habitat for Humanity home. Habitat celebrated with the Trantinas and Chapel by the Sea volunteers on March 17, 2011, at 8 a.m. at 15300 Straight Street, Fort Myers, Florida.

Gerry Trantina and his wife have been considering for quite some time sponsoring a home for a deserving family in Lee County. Gerry said, "I was motivated by the work being done on Thursdays with my team from Chapel by the Sea. We have fun, I see the progress and the demand for homeownership is up. Instead of making a small donation, I thought; why not make a large one?" A Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties' home sponsorship is a donation commitment of $50,000. This supports the creation of a home for a family willing to partner with Habitat to achieve an affordable housing solution.

Gerry Trantina has been volunteering at Habitat construction sites in Lee County every Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp for more than ten years. He drives the Chapel by the Sea of Fort Myers Beach minibus, and picks up twelve or thirteen other loyal volunteers who are willing to spend the day working for others. Their favorite job is removing siding, but lately they have been painting, installing new floor tiles and removing carpet in the homes Habitat is rehabbing in partnership with the community and homeowner candidates.

Chapel by the Sea has a long history with Habitat and Harlem Heights, where the first Habitat home was dedicated in 1980. Many Harlem Heights homeowners, who were unable to meet the requirements of Lee County building codes in the late seventies, were faced with demolition of their homes and loss of their community. The urgency of this situation caught the attention of a Chapel by the Sea of Fort Myers Beach congregation member who also served on the Lee County Mission Board.

Through the collaborative effort of the Lee County Mission Board, Chapel by the Sea of Fort Myers Beach congregation members and community support, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County became an affiliate of the international organization in October 1982. Since that time, Habitat has served more than 1,164 families in Lee and Hendry Counties.

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides simple, decent housing for families who otherwise could not afford it. It is one of the largest affiliates in the country. Through the use of volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, homes are sold to the homeowners at no profit with an interest-free mortgage, making homeownership an affordable reality. For further information call (239) 652.0434 or visit



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