Surrounded by loving friends, family, and neighbors, Ms. Alelia Butler cut a ribbon on her new Galveston Lane home, received the keys, and took up residence on Wednesday, just three days before Christmas.
The new home results from an extraordinary outpouring of generous donations of time, materials, and effort by the entire Key West community.
“It is an honor to be here today to dedicate Ms. Butler’s new home,” said Key West Fire Capt. Jason Barroso, “and to recognize all the amazing volunteers who have helped build Ms. Butler a beautiful new home.”
In January 2019, the fire department responded to an early morning fire, which destroyed Ms. Butler’s home. She barely escaped with her life, but she lost everything.
It didn’t take long before the community responded. Neighbors and family took her in, and the community began formulating a plan to construct a new home.
“This doesn’t happen everywhere around the country,” said Father John Baker, who blessed the new home. “But this is the kind of community we have in Key West.”
A group of over 60 people gathered to watch the ribbon cutting, and just about every one of them had a hand in the completion of the home.
Capt. Barroso, who spearheaded the effort, read a list of over 60 companies and volunteers who donated, from FMH Builders, who oversaw the construction, to Royal Furniture and Just Beds, both of which presented the furnishing for the home. Home Depot supplied the sheetrock and donated the Christmas tree in the living room.
Some of the others that made this a reality are: Gulf Southern Construction Company Services; Meridian Engineering, LLC; Monroe Concrete Products, Inc.; Florida Keys Electric, Inc.; Bella Construction of the Keys; All-Star Air Solutions; Gary’s Plumbing & Fire, Inc.; Sub Zero A/C & Refrigeration; Ernest Liz Plumbing; Liz Carpentry, LLC.; Waste Management Key West; Conch Construction & Roofing, Inc.; Arnold’s Towing; and Strunk Ace Hardware.
This list only scratches the surface of the helpers. Off-duty firefighters pitched in. Signs Unlimited donated a plaque. The Spottswood family and numerous other members of the community contributed to the completion of the home. The City of Key West’s Building Department and HARC helped move the project.
Frank and Mercy Herrada with FMH Builders, Inc. presented Ms. Butler her new Certificate of Occupancy. David Steinmeyer of GSCC Services presented Ms. Butler with her keys to her new home.
When asked if she had any words for the group, Ms. Butler threw open her arms and said simply, “thank you. Thank you all.”
In the photo: Ms. Alelia Butler cutting the ribbon to her new home surrounded by family and the volunteers who helped build her new home.