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Habitat for Humanity dedicates first home in Turlock through Bank of America partnership
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Pedro and Ernestina Diaz thank Habitat for Humanity and everyone who helped work on their rehabilitated home during a dedication ceremony on Saturday. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

The first thing Ernestina Diaz said as she walked up to the Baywood Lane home in Turlock Saturday morning was "Es bonita" — which translates to, "It's beautiful."

Her remark on the house being "beautiful" wasn't said as a passing comment based on the two-story home's outward appearance, but more  of a statement on the day itself —  the day she and her husband became homeowners.

Ernestina and her husband Pedro Diaz took possession of their new home after two long years on the Habitat for Humanity waiting list. The couple will move into the Turlock home with their six daughters.

"This is probably the most fun we have at Habitat — the dedication process," said Chris Harrigfeld, Habitat for Humanity board president.

The dedication ceremony included the presentation of a Bible and dictionary for the new home, as well as a house blessing. The Grocery Outlet stocked the kitchen with supplies, and presented the Diaz family with a gift certificate.

The Baywood house was the first of six vacant homes donated by Bank of America to Habitat for Humanity for renovation.

"The donation of these properties by Bank of America is a tremendous boost to our efforts to revitalize neighborhoods while serving the area workforce with much-needed affordable housing solutions," said Anita Hellam, executive director, Habitat for Humanity, Stanislaus County.

In addition to the property, donation programs through Bank of American Home Loans and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation have contributed more than $22 million to Habitat's work around the world through a partnership launched in 2002. Additionally, bank employees contribute more than 30,000 volunteer hours annually to help rehab and build homes.

Habitat is currently taking applications for its homeowner program. The first step is to attend an orientation. Call 575-4585 ext. 106 for upcoming dates and times.

Habitat is always looking for volunteers to help rehab and build homes. For information on volunteering, call Karissa Wright at 575-4585 ext. 107 or email