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Habitat for Humanity honors late Forsyth resident
Tarelo-Family WEB
Maria Tarelo and her children, Ricky, 11, Natasha, 10, and Elia, 7, attend the first nail ceremony at their future home in north Forsyth that they are helping build with Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

NORTH FORSYTH -- The third of four families who will call Hubert Martin Drive in north Forsyth home thanks for a nonprofit Christian housing ministry recently attended a ceremony to mark the first nail hammered into their future abode.

More than 25 volunteers participated in the first day of construction for the Tarelo family, who is helping to build their home with Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia.

The nonprofit builds affordable homes for purchase by low-income families who demonstrate “the capacity for responsible homeownership.”

Maria Tarelo, who works for Forsyth County Schools as a head custodian, has lived in Forsyth County for the last 10 years and will live in her new home with her children, Ricky, 11, Natasha, 10, and Elia, 7.

“This is truly a blessing for me and my family,” she said.

While this home is important to Tarelo and her family, is also hold special meaning for the Habitat staff, board members, volunteers and other partner families.

The home will be built in memory of Bob Gorrie, the local nonprofit’s construction manager, who recently passed away from cancer.

“The first day of construction was a celebration of Bob Gorrie’s life and legacy,” said Kristyn Johnson, spokeswoman for Habitat-North Central Georgia. “Members of the Parkway Presbyterian Church, where Bob was a member, attended the ceremony and helped to put up the frame of the Tarelo family’s home.”

Since its inception in 1995, the local Habitat chapter has completed 284 homes serving an estimated 1,000 family members in Forsyth, Cherokee and Dawson counties and the north Fulton area.

The organization works so that partner families, who earn 30 to 60 percent of the Atlanta area median income, purchase their homes at or near appraised value with a 30-year no-interest financing provided by Habitat.

In addition, each partner family must attend educational classes and perform 200-300 hours of construction “sweat equity” to that they help build their own home with volunteers.