We have to admit we get a little choked up when we see a Habitat family making the news. Over the course of getting to know them — some families we have worked with for two decades — we sort of fall in love with them. We cheer their successes and mourn their heartbreaks. Going to the grocery store can sometimes take hours because we run into a family and lose time catching up.
So, we were thrilled to see the article in the Vail Daily on student athlete Jeremiah Vasquez. He’s talented, playing three sports including wresting, baseball and football. What we might love most? His father, Angelo, is his wrestling coach.
The quote he shared with Chris Freud is telling about the respect the family has for each other:
“Angelo is your father and your coach. How does this work?: “When I’m at practice he’s the boss man. When I’m (at practice), we are chasing a championship. We only have 20 regular-season matches. It’s gotta be 100% all the time.
“When we’re home, he’s a family man. We try to avoid sports talk when we’re here with family.” ”
Hardwork + Dedication = A Family Home
Nine years ago the Vasquez family moved for the last time — into their Habitat home. Prior, the family had moved 14 times from one subpar rental unit to another, struggling to find safe and affordable housing. Their last rental had major plumbing and mold problems, and a landlord that was not interested in fixing the issues.
The Vasquezes are long-time locals: Tanya and Angelo got married after high school. She grew up in Red Cliff, he in Minturn. Their goal, like many, was to stay in Eagle County near their extended family and own a home. At times it felt unattainable, until Jeremiah brought home a flyer from school about Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley.
They went through the application process and were elated when they learned they were selected to build a home in the Fox Hollow neighborhood of Edwards. As every adult volunteers 250 hours in building their home, they also built lasting relationships with Habitat’s staff, volunteers and the 15 other families in Fox Hollow. The family of five, Jeremiah is the oldest, with Tyson and Christina just a few years younger, now has nine years of stability that helps them achieve their goals.
“It is such a heartfelt feeling to walk through our door and say this is home. To know this is permanent, to watch our children run and play with smiles on their faces,” said Tanya in 2014, two years after they moved into their new home.
Tanya is a preschool special education teacher at the Edwards Early Learning Center. She also volunteers with HFHVV on our Family Selection Committee. Angelo is passionate about his work as as wrestling coach and is a part-time ReStore employee.
For more than 25 years, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley has helped families achieve housing stability: 93 families and more than 300 children have found housing stability in a Habitat home. The terms strength, stability and self-reliance are more than lip service — they are words to come home to.