After raising funds for the last five years, today employees of Gillons Insurance, formally Thunder Bay Insurance, gathered together to officially celebrate the groundbreaking of the Thunder Bay Insurance Habitat for Humanity Legacy House. The dwelling located at 677 Hodder Avenue is the first semi-detached house the not for profit organization is building in ten years, and will become home for two Thunder Bay families in need. Says Gillons Insurance Manager, David Baxter; “Our team is so proud to be a part of this amazing initiative. We have been actively raising funds for the last five years to support the construction of these two homes. We, (Carol & David Baxter, Melanie & Domenic Albanese, Terri Armitage, Carole Normand and our Staff) were so pleased to connect Thunder Bay Insurance to such a deserving organization and give back to the community that has been very supportive of what we have been doing over the last 34 years. Our customers, are our community, and our business is to serve them.”

To date, the Thunder Bay Insurance- Gillons Insurance team has raised over $80,000 and continues to contribute. Volunteers at today’s Groundbreaking Ceremony planted two apple trees at the home site, commemorating the two families and the community growing together to become healthy and strong. Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay CEO Diane Mitchell says; “Like a tree, families need nourishment and support to thrive in the community. The sustainability of Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay comes from its roots. Thunder Bay Insurance has provided the capital to finance this home, and its staff are the roots of this build.”

Continues Mitchell; “The final outcome of a healthy apple tree is the fruit it bears, essentially giving back to the environment that created it. Apples on this tree will symbolize Habitat bringing together a community to give back and provide a home to a deserving family, beautifying and building neighbourhoods, and creating healthy, productive citizens. “

The community benefits in many ways from new Habitat for Humanity homes being built in Thunder Bay. Former renters become homeowners who contribute to the tax base and as the cycle of poverty is broken and a family’s financial situation improves, their dependence on local social services decreases. In addition, pride of ownership leads to a renewed sense of confidence, and families become contributors to the community and the local economy.

Today marked the start of Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay’s 2014 construction season. Sylvain Spenard has been introduced as the newest build coordinator and will lead the construction of the duplex.

Continues Baxter; “It is remarkable to be able to watch a project come together from start to finish; It is very rewarding to know that our team has been a part of it. Not only do we get to see progress with the construction, but progress being made in the lives of local families. Home ownership is very empowering.”