Alpine firm lights kids’ future
Tradies come to the call to help build dream home for Holt children
IT’S said that in times of adversity somebody invariably steps up to the plate.
And that’s just what a number of North East enterprises have done in the aftermath of Wangaratta’s Anzac Day tragedy, last year, when four children aged between four and nine lost their parents – leaving Helen and David Holt to raise and care for their grandchildren.
Bright and District Electrical and Albury-Wodonga’s Cavalier Homes are just two who have generously worked with a charity known as the ‘4 Kids and Carers Future Foundation’ to provide the Holts with a new house.
Mr and Mrs Holt had downsized and were living in a two-bedroom Wangaratta house when the four children came to live with them.
Six in the small home added a logistical challenge to the new circumstances in which the family found itself.
Then four months ago, when the foundation was established to raise funds and aid the children’s financial security, finding a suitable home for the family in which all could live comfortably became a top priority.
Foundation chairman Jason Reid said the North East community had raised a significant amount of money towards the children’s future, but there remained much to do in the coming 12 to 15 years as they grow into teenagers and young adults.
The foundation is now a registered charitable organisation and able to offer full tax benefits to donors.
Enter Cavalier Homes Albury Wodonga sales manager Shane McDowall who heard of the family’s plight.
“Doreen (Wessel) contacted me explaining the untenable situation with the Holts and the children living in a two-bedroom house and I just knew we had to do something,” Mr McDowall said.
He raised the issue with Cavalier Homes Albury Wodonga owners Dale Paddle and Paul Hodgkin.
“We were in a meeting and with no beating around the bush I just blurted out that we needed to help and, as crazy as it sounds, build a house for David and Helen and the children,” Mr McDowall said.
“Both Dale and Paul are family men with kids of their own and they just looked at each other and without flinching turned to each other and said ‘Okay, let’s do it’.”
The team from Cavalier Homes then met with Mr Reid.
“The following week Jason brought David and Helen up to meet us and look through one of the display homes at our Riverside Estate,” Mr McDowall said.
“It was a very emotional meeting and, with what David and Helen and the children were going through, we realised this can’t happen quickly enough.”
Mr Reid admitted he was taken aback when Cavalier Homes came forward with the offer of a house.
“I along with the rest of the foundation board have been blown away by the generosity of Dale, Paul and Shane, not to mention David and Helen who both feel so humbled by the whole thing,” he said.
“A block of land in Old School Road (Wangaratta) was secured with the assistance of the vendor and the agents involved but we will need to continue fundraising to pay off the block.”
With the block and home in hand all that’s needed now to complete the dream is for local tradies to step forward to offer their services.
“We appreciate it’s a big ask but the generosity of the community so far gives us confidence we can make this dream a reality,” Mr Reid said.
“Cavalier Homes and their suppliers will supply all the building products. All we need is the labour to put it all together.
“We need all trades, basically anything to do with building a home from scratch – landscapers, concreters, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers, tilers, bricklayers.
“Bright and District Electrical have already installed underground power and a powerboard at the site without being asked and at their own expense.”
Bright’s Ian McGillivray said Ora Holt had been born and raised in Bright and had been known by many in the community.
“She was a friend of people on our staff and we all know Jason (Reid) who’s organising the foundation,” Mr McGillivray said.
“We thought it (connecting power to the house site) was just something that we could do.
“One of guys working here got in touch with Cavalier – they hadn’t anyone on board who was doing the electrics. It was not a big deal – really the least we could do.”
Mr McGillivray said Ora’s father had worked in the building sector.
Paul Hodgkin will be project manager and Cavalier Homes has undertaken to provide opportunities at future projects to any of the tradies who step forward to help.
While there is no set time frame for the completion of the project Mr Reid said there was one date in mind.
“It would be fantastic to have the kids in their home by Anzac Day next year for obvious reasons,” he said.
Any tradespeople interested in being a part of this project can contact Jason Reid (4KCFF president) on 0419 360 728, or Paul Hodgkin (Cavalier Homes) on 0409 596 736.
FIELD OF DREAMS: David and Helen Holt, grandparents and now guardians of the four Holt children at the house block purchased for the new Holt family home.