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Local contractors build home for Habitat for Humanity volunteer in honor of fallen employee

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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - The Manatee County chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds 5 homes per year. One home on 17th Avenue West in Bradenton represents a future for one family, as it provides closure for another.

"Everybody is so excited and enthusiastic about getting the job done," said Jackie Melendez.

For Melendez, it isn't just construction for a house, this is a home; her home.

"Everybody here is full of love and support and everybody works so hard to make it happen," said Melendez.

She isn't a stranger to the organization. Melendez is a volunteer home buyer for Habitat for Humanity. She recently learned she is financially eligible to build a home through habitat, and in just a few months, she and her two kids will be moved into a 3 bedroom, 1,100 square foot home.

"Just to see the fruit of your labor and just to know that you worked so hard for, you're going to get the benefit of it," smiled Melendez.

The construction would take an extra month if it wasn't for Carpenter Contractor's of America. The group is donating its labor and materials to build the roof and interior walls. They say it's in honor of their Vice President Jeff Pfeifer who died in a car crash in Parrish in September.

"We all stick together and when times are trouble we are all there for each other," said Sue Connolly, who worked with Pfeifer at CCA.

"It's great that they've brought all of their people to work on our houses as it's going to help us get our families into a home much quicker," said Bruce Winter, Director of Construction for Mantaee Habitat for Humanity.

Once the green build construction project comes to an end, the 5th Habitat house in the city of Bradenton will honor the man who co-workers describe as a gentle soul, full of life.

"I know he is sitting on a cloud above us watching us all, and smiling with pride," smiled Connolly.

The project is expected to be complete by June 2018.

More than 100 families have purchased and built homes through the Manatee Habitat for Humanity program since 1994. To find out if you are eligible for a Habitat home, visit the Manatee Habitat for Humanity website.