City of Clovis and Habitat for Humanity dedicate Veteran Home

The Munoz family stands in front of their new home next to a sign honoring Gerard Lozano, member of the Fresno Association of Realtors, who helped the Munoz family immensely through this process (Photo J.T. Gomez, Clovis Roundup)

On a warm and sun filled afternoon on a Friday in February, over fifty people showed up to show their support for a Clovis family.

On this day, a forever home was granted to the Munoz family: David, Daniella Munoz, and their charming baby boy Mateo.

Interim CEO of the Habitat for Humanity for the Greater Fresno Area, Ashley Hedemann thanked a few members and associations for their help and their support with this newly built home including Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua, who showed his support for the Munoz family.

At the dedication for the home, Councilman Mouanoutoua announced to the Munoz family, “We pledge to keep you safe, we pledge to keep your water running, your lights on, and to have beautiful sidewalks. We are happy to have you here; I think your child will also be benefitted living here in Clovis and going to Clovis schools.”

Mouanoutoua then thanked the family for their veteran service.

The Fresno Association of Realtors and the Habitat For Humanity have held a long withstanding relationship over the years, and according to Interim CEO Ashley Hedemann, their partnership is founded on the principle that, “Families can build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home  ownership opportunities.”

The association helps with funding, finding volunteers, and even helping to build and frame the house with which all were gathered in front of.

The Fresno Association of Realtors and news outlet ABC 30 worked together to raise $50,000 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerard Lozano, who passed away in October of 2021 was memorialized at the dedication for his work as a member of the Fresno Association, and furthermore for his work to get this house completed specifically.

According to Don Scordino, the 2020 President of the Fresno Association of Realtors, Gerard Lozano understood the importance of finding this family a home. Lozano worked hard to persuade the association and fulfill the needs of home ownership to the Munoz family.

He was described as a very welcoming person, one with a “beautiful smile”, and having meant so much to the association.

“We promise to take care of this home because of everyone who had a hand in building it,” declared David Munoz as he took to the podium in front of the crowd. In speaking with David on a more personal level he specified, “We’re filled with joy, we’re so grateful. I mean, we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for everyone’s help.”

Daniella Munoz summarized, “It was nice to see everyone who helped us and supported us to be out here on our special day”, when asked about the turnout to the dedication.

Both Daniella and David stated that they had a lot of special projects when thinking about the future of their house, especially for their son Mateo. “We’re excited to be a part of the community, we’re excited to be a part of Clovis now.”

“Today was an absolutely beautiful day to welcome a veteran family home”, said Ashley Hedemann after the event had concluded. Hedemann described the Munoz family as “very hardworking” and very dedicated in all things that they do. She also said that she wasn’t surprised at this fact being that David is a veteran. “They were through their sweat equity hours extremely quickly!” exclaimed an excited Hedemann. Sweat equity hours are the hours that are performed directly from the family themselves, working on their house, a staple of the Habitat For Humanity program. “They’ve been so special to work with, and hold a special place in our Habitat heart.”

The Habitat For Humanity project plans to work on completing eight new homes in Riverdale in the upcoming weeks, but hopes to revisit Clovis soon. “We’ll work with the city to see how else Habitat can continue to create affordable home ownership in Clovis”.

The family was awarded a photo album from the Habitat for Humanity construction manager Rick O’Daniel. This photo album was composed of photographs of the family working on their home during their sweat equity hours. A Bible was also handed to the family from Keri Bennitt and Mariah Walton of Noble Credit Union.

Finally, tools, a basket of books, a free year of pest control, a welcome mat and an American Flag were all donated to the family with the latter hailing from the American Legion Post 38.

The ceremony ended with a key passing between all the respective groups who helped make the dream of home ownership become a reality for this family. These groups including Fresno Association of Realtors, the City of Clovis, Bank of America, and Noble Credit Union all formed an arm’s length line in which the key to the front door was passed along from one member to another. It finally reached the hands of now official homeowners David and Daniella Munoz, and the house was officially opened.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.