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Habitat makes Carbondale woman’s dream come true

Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Becky Young admits that she’s never been big on the holiday season. The hype, the commercialism never did it for her.But this year, she said, it actually feels like Christmas.Young, 58, is the mother of Michael “Mikey” Grandbois, 24, who has autism and cerebral palsy. Thanks to the efforts of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley and its volunteers, Mikey will be living in his own apartment in the coming months. The self-contained dwelling will be situated in Young’s garage and will feature a living unit for a caregiver. For the first time since Mikey was born, Young is looking forward to both of them having a little bit of independence.”It’s mind-blowing,” Young said. “I saw that in my head so often. To see it take shape is just unbelievable.”Though she had pictured this set-up for years, she could have never made it happen on her own. Between her, caregivers and Mikey’s father, Marc, Mikey had always been well looked-after, but there was no extra money or energy to explore such a project. Recently, after a friend suggested she contact Habit, something in her shifted. She dropped what she called “an almost absurd sense” of self-reliance, and let people help.”It’s one thing to buy something for somebody,” she said, awe in her voice. “It’s another thing to stand there in the cold and hammer away all day.” Young’s excitement is about more than watching “Mikey’s place” come together. Being the mother of a disabled child, one’s life can feel quite “socially isolated,” she explained. Having the volunteers around – along with their upbeat, helpful vibe – has given her a new sense of connection.”They’re just happy and proud, and it’s incredibly touching,” she said.She called her friend, plumber Russ Criswell, “the Energizer Bunny in hooded sweatshirt” for all the hours he’s spent laying down pipe. She was amazed that a “perfect stranger” such as Jon Beck, a professional electrician, would give so much of his time.Scott Gilbert, Habitat board president, is another such volunteer. He recalled a day when Young returned home to see to him and the others working.”She just walked in, started crying,” he said. “She was just so excited. She was just so happy.”Gilbert told her then that she didn’t understand. Pounding nails in her garage, still lacking heat, was exactly where he and other volunteers wanted to be.”It’s all a pleasure for us,” he said. “This is not a hard sell. We couldn’t be happier out there, doing this.” And Young couldn’t be more grateful. She’s no super hero, she stressed, and yes, it’s great to have to help. She feels the construction is coming at the perfect time to keep her “keeping on.” As for Mikey, she’s not sure how much he understands about the building, but he is definitely excited about having his own kitchen. Though he can’t talk and has difficulty walking, on the whole, he is cheerful, she said. In her eyes, the kind of love that Mikey gives is pure, special and sweet.”In the end, isn’t that the whole deal?” she asked. “We think we need all this stuff to be happy, and here is this kid who wasn’t give the full complement of stuff – and he’s happy.”To Young, knowing that she and Mikey are about to enter a new chapter of their relationship is “the biggest relief you can possibly imagine.” She wants all the volunteers to understand just how much they mean to her, she said – and then gave them her thanks, many times over.For information about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, call 945-7733. Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111ssieg@postindependent.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado


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