Giving Thanks

Brookhaven employees volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to help build a new home for local Veteran

The torrential rain on the chilly day before Thanksgiving didn’t seem to stop Kimberly Butler from smiling. After all, this was the day that Butler would be presented with the keys to her new home in the hamlet of Mastic Beach, NY.

For more than a year, Butler has worked side-by-side with volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Bank of America, National Grid, and other sponsors, to build the three-bedroom house on Woodlawn Drive that she and her daughter Ryan will now call their own. Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA), the company that manages Brookhaven Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy, donated $10,000 toward the project, half of the $20,000 it gave to Habitat for Humanity as part BSA’s Hurricane Sandy relief effort. 

“This is a great day for everyone involved,” said Nora Sundin, manager of the Lab’s Stakeholder Relations Office. “It is the perfect day to give thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make this dream come true for Kimberly and her daughter.”

Gathered in the living room of the new house were Habitat for Humanity representatives, project sponsors, and members of the community. “Peace unto this house and all who dwell here,” said Pastor Gregg of Grace Lutheran Church, who opened the ceremony with a blessing.

During his opening remarks Walt Mackey, the director of construction at Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk, said, “We have met our goal. Kimberly and her daughter have worked incredibly hard throughout the project, and I wish them all the happiness they deserve.”

Board President for Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk Lee Silberman added that his two favorite milestones on these projects are the day the walls are raised and the day the keys are presented to the new owner. “This is the day that all the hard work of everyone involved pays off,” said Silberman. “Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk has helped build 167 local homes and two of them are being dedicated today right here in Mastic Beach. Congratulations to Kimberly and Ryan.”

The Village of Mastic Beach donated the land on which Butler’s new home is built. Mastic Beach Village Mayor Bill Biondi and Village Trustee Maura Spery welcomed Kimberly and Ryan to the neighborhood. “This is just the beginning of many more homes like this in our hamlet,” said Spery. Referring to Butler’s service in the U.S. Army, Spery added, “We welcome you to our community and thank you for your service to our nation.”

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk Executive Director Diane Burke and Family Services Manager Lindsey Ross gave comments saluting Butler’s enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to the project. The long-awaited moment arrived when Brookhaven Lab Director Doon Gibbs presented Kimberly with the keys to her new home.  

“I can’t think of a better place to spend Thanksgiving,” said Gibbs. “On behalf of Brookhaven Lab and Brookhaven Science Associates, it is an honor and privilege to be with you today to mark this event. We are happy to join in the celebration and share in your accomplishments as you move into your new home and we wish you much success and happiness as you move forward.”  

Holding back emotion, Butler expressed her thanks to everyone. “I have met wonderful people and I am humbled,” she said, and then added, “Oh my God, I’ve got the keys!” 

Kimberly Butler’s dream is now a reality.

Tags: community

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