HOLYOKE – Jessica and Scott Leary readily admitted they were in a state of shock.
“It seems surreal,” Scott told Reminder Publications.
The Leary family is the first Holyoke residents to benefit from an expansion of Revitalize CDC from its home base of Springfield to Holyoke.
Colleen Loveless, executive director of Revitalize CDC, said at the Oct. 6 announcement the volunteer organization will provide exterior repairs and updates to the Leary home that has been in his family since 1901 when his great grandfather built it. Loveless added that help with a kitchen remodel is also planned.
The launch of the first Revitalize CDC project in the Paper City is collaboration between that organization and Olde Holyoke Development Corporation, Michael Moriarty, its executive director, said. The collaboration will help stretch the funding both organizations have to help homeowners, he explained.
Moriarty called the Leary family, “the epitome of hardworking folks in the city.”
Mayor Alex Morse said, “I’m thrilled to officially invite and welcome Revitalize CDC to Holyoke.”
Revitalize CDC has been operating in Springfield for 23 years with its efforts to help homeowners address issues with their properties that are too expensive for them to handle alone. Through the efforts of volunteers and contributions of materials sections of streets have been greatly improved and last year the organization helped rebuild 53 homes.
The Leary home is also part of Revitalize CDC’s JoinedForces initiative, which seeks out veterans to assist. Scott is an Air Force veteran who served from 1990 to 1996.
Scott explained that his wife is a disabled emergency medical technician, and he is a truck driver whose hours can vary from week to week. With a family, he does not always have the time to make the repairs on his home as he needs.
“You do what you can with what you have,” he said.
The house was formerly a two family home, but Scott had started its conversion to a single family home by removing walls to reconfigure the floor plan.
Although the couple did not know fully at this time all that will be done to the home by the Revitalize CDC effort, they were very thankful for the help.
“I’ll be eternally grateful for the help we’re about to receive,” Scott said.
Loveless explained the work date would be on Veterans Day. To help fund this effort and others, there will be a breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Holyoke War Memorial Building, 310 Appleton St. Tickets are $25 and are available through www.RevitalizeCDC.com and the organization is currently looking for sponsors for the breakfast.