ShareThis Page
Disabled former Marine and wife move in to Allegheny Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 22nd house |
Valley News Dispatch

Disabled former Marine and wife move in to Allegheny Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 22nd house

| Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:48 p.m.
Habitat for Humanity home owner Ray Duckett shows his mother, Georgia Mae Duckett of East Liberty (left) and his daughter Chasity Duckett, his new house at 644 Ridge Ave. in New Kensington.
Retired state Sen. Randy Vulakovich (left) talks with new Habitat for Humanity home owner and veteran Ray Duckett (center) and fellow veteran Bob Beck about programs for people who have served in the military. Vulkovich gave Duckett a special button honoring service in the Marine Corps.

A house at 644 Ridge Ave. was in such bad shape New Kensington officials condemned it several years ago.

But that wasn’t the end of the old house.

It took almost two years, but the two-story, two-bedroom house with a basement and patio was rebuilt with volunteer sweat and love and community donations by Allegheny Valley Habitat for Humanity.

On Saturday, the house became home for Vietnam veteran Ray Duckett and his wife, Brenda.

It’s the 22nd Habitat for Humanity home built in the Alle-Kiski Valley since 1997.

Duckett, who is a disabled former Marine, said the stars and stripes have a prominent place throughout the house.

Despite his physical limitations, Duckett has taken on responsibilities for this and future Habitat projects.

Duckett may need to sit down from time to time, but he uses his construction background to teach other volunteers how to do the work, said John Tamiggi, Habitat’s executive director.

“Ray has home maintenance and repair skill sets and will be mentoring volunteers and future homeowners,” Tamiggi said.

Duckett was raised in Pittsburgh, but has been part of the Valley for several decades.

The Rev. Peter Nkemakolam led prayers and a dedication service for the house. Originally from Nigeria, he is pastor of a community outreach ministry in Arnold.

Duckett’s mother and brother were among those who attended Saturday’s event.

Dozens of people from across the region donated money and labor at the house.

Incredibly, Glenn Nordmark of Lower Burrell, soon to be 90, worked on this and the other 21 Habitat houses in the Valley.

“It’s a way to do as God tells us and serve man’s needs,” he said. The Air Force veteran served in Korea and continues to help.

Bob Beck who lives across the street, didn’t think the house could be restored. Beck said the previous owner became ill and could not continue its upkeep.

“This is amazing,” Beck said. “And Ray has been my best friend for at least seven years.”

Habitat’s construction manager Scott Reider, who is also a former Marine, put the house keys into Duckett’s hand.

“It was a honor,” said Reider of Export. “To be able to give the keys to another Marine, well, it was special. Non-Marines can’t understand.”

The house has been inspected and only a few finishing touches remain, but it’s in move-in shape.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.