Rotary breaks ground on Habitat home for veteran

The Trumbull Rotary has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity's Habitat for Heroes initiative whose goal is to build a home in Bridgeport for a deserving veteran and his or her family.

First phase of the project was completed in mid-October when together the non-profit organizations raised $50,000 so excavation of a building lot in Bridgeport, donated by the City, could begin. Rotary contributed $21,000 to the initial funding. "But we are not stopping there," said Bill Zeidenberg, Rotary past president who heads the vets project along with Rotarians Mike Rappa and John McBride. This year, Trumbull Rotary set its sights as a major goal on helping veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zeidenberg said the initial funds were raised through events sponsored by the Rotary and the other Rotary Clubs in the area were pitching in too.

"Soon we will be able to break ground on the new construction," Zeidenberg said. Although $100,000 more needs to be donated to complete the building project, Habitat officials are confident that the full amount will be raised. Rotarians will continue to assist with both fund raising and actual construction.

Keith Cook, Coastal Fairfield County Habitat president, said he was pleased to work the Trumbull Rotary on this important project and that Habitat plans additional veteran building projects in the future. He said that the Trumbull Rotary has been given the prestigious designation of "Funding Sponsor."

According to Habitat studies, many vets meet their income and need standards and are eligible to have a home built on their behalf. The family itself is expected to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" labor on the construction. Because of current economic circumstances veterans throughout America have been hit hard and more than 72,000 spend at least half their monthly income on rent alone. As a result, home ownership is out of reach for many. At this point Habitat is in the process of selecting the lucky veteran and their family for the home construction.

Trumbull Rotary president Jim Malski said, "We can't solve all veterans' housing problems, but by helping to build one home I consider that a good beginning."

Want to change the world? Rotary's 1.2 million members believe it starts with a commitment to Service Above Self. Members of the Rotary Club of Trumbull participate in community service to improve life in the Trumbull community and meet community needs. For more information on the Rotary Club of Trumbull, visit , call (203) 372-3587 or attend a morning meeting at the Trumbull Public Library every Friday at 7:30 a.m.