Rotary breaks ground on Habitat home for veteran

The Trumbull Rotary Club celebrated Veterans Day Monday by breaking ground on a project, co-sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, to build a home in Bridgeport for a veteran's family. The club has set as a major goal helping veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a veteran himself, praised the efforts to help those who have served the country. Many other veterans were also in attendance during the service.

"We are not stopping there," said Rotary Past President Bill Zeidenberg, who heads the project with Rotarians Mike Rappa and John McBride.

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

The first phase of the project was completed in mid-October when the two non-profit organizations raised $50,000 to begin excavating a building lot, donated by the city. Rotary contributed $21,000 to the initial funding.

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 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 veteran and their family for the home construction.