Habitat for Humanity Thanks Those Who Helped Rebuild Cedar Grove Road Home

Fire destroyed home where mother and son live

The following letter was submitted by Alyssa M. Turner, public relations coordinator for Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity:

Shortly before the chill set in the air, Maria and Steven Bertolini were able to return to their rehabbed home on Cedar Grove Road which was devastated by a house fire. A good portion of their home was destroyed. Maria, who was working two jobs while attending Georgian Court University, was diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the retina forcing her on to disability. As a single mother, Maria was also caring for Steven who was developmentally disabled.

Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity would like to thank all contractors, volunteers, Mayor Kelaher, and the Municipality of Toms River on behalf of the Bertolini Family for supporting our mission in the rebuild of their home.

Suzan Fichtner, Executive Director of Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity said, "It is amazing what can be accomplished when people in a community come together on behalf of the common good...such is the magical story of 201 Cedar Grove Road. On behalf of Maria, Steven and the staff and volunteers of Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity THANK YOU for taking the time to Make a Difference in the lives of our neighbors and for helping to bring them HOME!”

Thanks to the support that you have provided, Maria and Steven are no longer homeless and are now able to once again have a place they can call home. Thank you for your generous partnership in this life-affirming work. We look forward to partnering with you in the future!

Irina February 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM
And I'll bet she she doesn't have insurance. I feel for your loss Maria but if you had insurance your losses would've been covered and you wouldn't have had to be looking for handouts.
DebMT February 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Really??? Why do some people insist in always taking the low road and posting their snarky, negative comments on what should be a positive, uplifting story!! I for one, am proud of what Habitat for Humanity was able to do to help one of our own who was down on her luck.
Irina February 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM
When you negligent (or should I say downright STUPID) for not paying your homeowners insurance....It should be a "Too Bad". Maybe I should not pay mine (over $900.00 a year) and when I have a disaster I'll just beg society for handouts too. This is what society has become, nobody taking responsibility for their actions.
April Lynch-Quist February 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I have spoken- why don't you keep your nasty comments to yourself ! It's neighbor helping neighbor ! Lets hope one day you don't need a hand out ! Why don't you go over the bridge and donate your time like my family does - buy a dictionary and learn the word humanity! You are an ass
barbara February 16, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Such a nice story and big shout out to Habitat for Humanity. Unfortunately, some people are just plain rude and heartless. Yes, we have insurance on our home, which was devistated by Sandy and we are still working on it and will be for a long time. Glad they were able to get their home back again.
April Lynch-Quist February 16, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Amen Barbara ! Restore The Shore! Bringing back Humanity
Pat S. February 16, 2013 at 03:26 PM
It's nice to read about something positive for a change. And to I Have Spoken- glad you can pay your insurance as I do, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have the means to do that. Food, mortgage/rent, utility bills, medical bills, etc.are the necessary priorities for many. Don't be so quick to judge.
Maria bertolini February 16, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Really? You feel for my loss? Obviously you don't have an empathetic bone in your body. The insurance wasn't paid because I could not afford it not because I was doing something else with the money. I hadnt thought it was possible for someone to be so devoid of compassion but today you havel proven me wrong.
Sue February 16, 2013 at 04:46 PM
$30,000 for each year's flood insurance -- coming soon from FEMA. A "mere" $2000 a year now. That's in addition to homeowner's insurance which doesn't cover flooding. ==> Facebook.com/StopFemaNow
Laura February 16, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Not for nothing but where is Habitat for Humanity after Sandy? Who are they helping at the shore? I'm not being nasty or sarcastic I am truly wondering where they are. Has anyone seen them?
Sandra February 16, 2013 at 07:45 PM
You don't feel anyone's loss. Had you really felt it, you would keep your "handouts" remark to yourself.
holden2112 February 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Enjoy the free house and consider yourself very fortunate for this gift.
Heidi February 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Hi Laura, I am glad you asked. Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity is part of the long-term solution for Sandy homeowners with limited incomes. Due to limited resources we have to evaluate each product based on available funds, manpower, and impact on the family and the community. We are in the process of reviewing applications and available funds for "Sandy" projects. As with many homeowners, decisions have to be made in conjunction with local code and rebuilding or repairing guidelines. As these decisions have just recently been made in many municipalities and are still under discussion in many others; Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity has been weighing the best long-term solutions for those families who have been affected by Sandy in a long-term perspective. The organization does not believe in applying Band-Aid solutions that don't provide home security to the individuals who have been affected by the storm. We have been here, there, and everywhere these individuals are, walking with the families as these recovery decisions are made. Watch for us and you WILL see us working hard. Heidi R
Heidi February 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM
*product should be Project.
Elizabeth H February 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM
I understand that Northern Ocean Habitat has a full plan in place with guidance from Habitat for Humanity International headquarters to address Sandy home repairs. As you are aware, due to the FEMA and insurance delays, it's been difficult to ascertain precisely how much money is required by homeowners to make homes habitable. Homeowners can apply to Habitat via their A Brush With Kindness or Critical Home Repair programs. Habitat will be reviewing applications and prioritizing the work soon. I'm sure you'll see Northern Ocean Habitat vans and signs in many neighborhoods soon. In the meantime, why not volunteer to join the organization and get ready to help!
Cynthia Ninivaggi February 16, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Congrats Maria and Stephen on returning to your home after your long ordeal. Could not happen to a nicer family.
barbara February 17, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Nice story and happy to see something positive came out of this family's loss. Really can't tolerate nasty remarks being tossed around. But I'll bet they wouldn't be said to someones face. It's easy when you're sitting behind a keyboard. We are all in this life together and should be happy when something good happens to a fellow human. We all will get a turn at both good and bad fortune.
Michie511 February 17, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Just let Maria & Steven have some happiness in their life. It was their time to be helped - good for them!
Cathy February 17, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Congratulations Maria. This is awesome news. You've given so much of yourself, even through illness. This is what karma is about. After "paying it forward" for years, you can have the same kindness offered to you. :) This makes me happy. Remember what the proverbial "they" say, empty barrels make the most noise. Ignore those that DO make the most noise. Usually these people will never be happy so they wish to transfer this onto to others. So glad to see you're not letting this happen. (the rest are not either ..... kudos)
June Kreutzer February 17, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Habitat does not provide free houses. Our families have to work to build their own houses. They are then given a mortgage, more generous than they can get from a bank . They are given a "Hand up not a Hand out". The money they pay to Habitat gets used to pay for the next house for a family who meets the criteria of need, willingness to partner, and who meet financial criteria. A family then has a simple, safe, decent, affordable home for their children to grow. They pay mortgage, taxes and insurance and care for this home just like anyone other homeowner does. This gives them a role in the community, a feeling of responsibility, belonging and for the children - a lifetime of stability and safety.
Laura February 17, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Heidi, I titally understand. Thank you for the update. Laura
Leif Myhre February 19, 2013 at 08:50 PM
God bless those who have put their faith into action by helping Habitat for Humanity help another local family! Prayers for all families and individuals struggling following the devastation of super storm Sandy. May neighbors, family, friends, businesses and organizations continue to help one another to strengthen our communities. I have found that volunteering to help others improves my own self-worth and character. Volunteerism and giving to to achieve goals that improve the common good have long been part of the underpinning of our society. Habitat for Humanity, a Christian, nondiscriminatory organization is a great avenue through which we can help and develop deep relationships with one another. Congratulations to Maria, Stephen and Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity volunteers and staff for reaching another goal towards eliminating sub-standard housing! Leif Myhre Steamboat Springs, Colorado Pine Beach, NJ
Harry March 31, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Way to go Habitat God bless


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