"It's a miracle." - Ronnie
Ronnie and Patty bought their home affordably in 1959 on a GI Bill re-sale. They both worked hard to support their five kids, Ronald, John, David, Julie, and Joyce. Ronnie worked for a paper company in Santa Clara for 29 years in manufacturing, and later for San Jose Unified School District. Patty worked in cosmetology and was part of the first graduating cosmetology class at San Jose State University. She worked for electronics companies doing manufacturing, selling Avon cosmetics, and doing hair and makeup on the side.
As their five children grew up, this home became the center of their family's life. Each child went to elementary school in Sunnyvale, and one even saw Al Gore come out for a campaign event in 2000. Ronnie's favorite memory at his home was teaching his kids to ride their bikes in the neighborhood, and he enjoyed being involved with Little League too. Their house is full of happy memories like these. "We used to have a good pot roast every Sunday after church, sit at the table and have everyone together," said Ronnie's daughter Julie. "Ours was Thanksgiving and sometimes New Years," said Ronnie about hosting his multigenerational family for holidays.
Over time, Ronnie and Patty could not keep up with the sky-high cost of living in Silicon Valley, and the condition of their
home started to slip. Paint started peeling, mold was growing along the bedroom walls, and windows had broken throughout the house. They simply could not afford to make the necessary repairs. As the years went by and their kids started to move away, it became more and more difficult to host the family for Thanksgiving and New Year's. Before she passed away last year, Patty had always wanted to fix up the home for their family, specifically for Liz, Ronnie's youngest granddaughter, who struggled as a single mother raising two young children, Reyna (5) and Alonso (4). Liz, an aspiring hair stylist and makeup artist, struggled to make ends meet. She and her children moved six different times over the past five years, on the brink of homelessness, before she decided to move in with her grandfather in Sunnyvale. While Liz is grateful to have a roof over their heads, she worries about their living conditions. Her sister Patricia, when asked what's most challenging about their situation, said, "The hardest part is knowing that my niece and nephew live here, and there are a lot of toxins in the air they breathe. It's hard to think about my grandparents living here for so long too, considering the condition it's in."
Throughout the months of December 2015 and January 2016, with the help of our incredible sponsors, in-kind donors, subcontractors, and volunteers, Ronnie and Liz's home was taken down to the studs and completely renovated with a new roof, plumbing, electrical, and kitchen remodel. Sponsor and general contractor Level 10 Construction provided immense financial support and leadership to complete the project. For more information on the supporters of this project, check out our Google site.
On February 5, 2016, the family moved into their new home. Liz and her son and daughter have a bright future ahead of them. Liz helps manage and style at Operation Hair Salon in San Jose, doing hair, makeup, color, cuts, extension, and creating marketing material. Long-term, she wants to become a celebrity hairstylist and make-up artist, opening up her own salon one day. Reyna and Alonzo, her children, are in a bilingual school in San Jose until the 5th grade.
"This is for the future of our family, to help us get together more and be here for my grandpa, to be a family again." - Liz