Renee Gaerlan: Painful process |

Renee Gaerlan: Painful process

Renee Gaerlan

Editor's note: This letter is in regard to the article "Duplex done; nobody home" in the March 30 Steamboat Today.

Although it is true that home ownership is not for everyone, I have been told that people in the community think the "partner families" somehow did not do what was needed in order to move into Routt County Habitat for Humanity's Riverside duplex. To the contrary, the only thing the Gaerlans did not do is sign a contract that dramatically varied from the agreed-upon terms that were set forth 24 months prior to completion of the duplex. The Kelly family still is fighting for its home. Neither family would have endured the painful process or completed more than the required 350 sweat-equity hours if the intended outcome was to not occupy the respective homes. If readers are at all interested in the details of how a military family with two small boys and a single mother of two teenage boys were duped, read the comment section online under the original story at

I have tried to keep my emotions at bay and find a lesson in all of this. My boy's tiny handprints are painted inside the walls of the rooms that should have been theirs. My 86-year-old grandmother came up from Arizona and wrote a message in the hallway wall. Friends and family from all across the country who volunteered on the project for months posted well wishes. Every volunteer who I painted and pounded nails alongside signed their name. It made me feel good to know that the walls of our home would be filled with the hearts and hands of those who helped make it possible. This is not the outcome we would have ever expected from a Christian-based nonprofit organization and definitely not from members of the community I grew up in.

Renee Gaerlan

Steamboat Springs