DEDICATION IS SPECIAL FOR HABITAT: Home dedicated to volunteer

Kathy Ricketts, left, and Julian and Cassie Sams as the Sams family’s house at 26 Buffalo St., left, is named for Mike Ricketts.

SILVER CREEK — After 18 months of waiting for their house to be completed, the Sams family of six was finally able to move into their brand-new home at 26 Buffalo St.

This marks the seventh time in Silver Creek that the organization has worked to assist a family to build its own house, thus bringing additional tax revenues to the village of Silver Creek, town of Hanover, and Chautauqua County.

According to volunteer executive director Dave Kurzawa, the organization has worked to add approximately $13,000 per year of additional tax revenues to village, town and county. “Habitat houses truly benefit the communities, the neighborhoods, and most of all the families that inhabit them.

The children living in Habitat houses have better educational outcomes, and they appear happier. Families tell us that they love living in their own home, for which they pay the mortgage.”

The dedication ceremony marking the new beginning for the Sams family was held on Saturday, Jan. 20. Filled with both joy and happy tears, the Sams family, many friends and neighbors, the parents, Julian and Cassie, and the children, Khloe, Skylar, Julian Junior, and Zoey waited patiently to watch Cassie and Julian cut the ribbon at the end of the ceremony.

Each family member was thrilled to receive quilts custom created by members of the Chautauqua Region Quilt Guild. They also received a family Bible and a grass trimmer to help maintain the property, both donated by Habitat, and also a framed prayer and family photo, both given by volunteers Donna Roof and Martha Boutet, respectively. Blessings and prayers were offered by retired pastor Mike Leamon, and by Habitat Board President, Maureen Rovegno.

Immediately before the dedication ceremony, the home was named in memory, in honor, and with great respect for Mike Ricketts, former Board President of the county Habitat organization. He was a longtime contributor to many volunteer organizations in Mayville, Westfield, Chautauqua County and New York state. He was his family’s “pillar of strength, barometer of ethics, and, at times, comedic reprieve,” according to his daughter, Melanie.

Ricketts helped build five houses in the Mayville-Westfield area, and he was construction manager for four of them. He also served as Board President of the organization for six years, chairing the annual fundraiser “Raise the Roof.” Ricketts was the person who sold the most tickets and solicited the most raffle baskets. He was a champion of those in need, and he always had a good story to tell to those lucky enough to know him.

Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity expects to continue its construction activities in mid-2024 in Dunkirk, Mayville, and Jamestown. New volunteers are needed so that more families can enjoy safe, simple, affordable housing for which they pay the mortgage and taxes, and work on the house.

Should you have questions or wish to volunteer, please call Kurzawa at 716-863-4475, or visit the webpage at www.chqhabitat.org.

Julian and Cassie Sams, and children, Khloe, Skylar, Julian Junior, and Zoey receive quilts custom created by members of the Chautauqua Region Quilt Guild.


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