Chenango County Habitat for Humanity

N E W S  releases

Get Your Motor Running for Habitat House Number Five!

OXFORD, NY--Jan. 21, 2012-- Chenango County Habitat for Humanity (CCHH) is starting off 2012 with some big announcements: they have a new partnering family who are big racing fans, they have a building site location, and they’ve rolled-out plans for their first ever “Souper Bowl” soup fundraiser at the end of March. It sounds like they’re on the fast track to success!

Meet Lorraine Cornish; a stock car racing fan and a hard working single mother of two sons, who lives in West Bainbridge. She enjoys her job in food service at the Guilford Elementary school, but it’s a limited income. Lorraine never thought she could ever afford a house on her own… especially since one of her sons, Garrett, is special needs. Never-the-less, home-ownership has been her dream, and with volunteer help from Habitat, it will soon become a reality.

Lorraine was encouraged to apply for a CCHH home by her former boss, Kathy Benedict Knudsen and Garrett’s teacher, Norma Kinney, both who happen to be with Habitat. In time, Lorraine’s application was accepted by the selection committee based on their level of need, willingness to partner, acceptance of responsibilities, and ability to repay a no-interest mortgage.

Aside from accessibility needs, Lorraine said, “I just want four walls I can call mine!”

Lorraine’s elder boy, Garrett, has been a car racing buff all his life. He loves all types of racing and especially idolizes family friend and professional driver, Mitch Gibbs from North Norwich. At the tender age of four, Garrett was tragically in an elevator accident that almost took his life. Sadly, he suffered a traumatic brain injury which affected his motor skills and speech. As a supportive gesture, Mitch Gibbs won a trophy the same weekend as the accident and he dedicated it to Garrett.

Garrett, now twenty-one-years-old, is still a racing fan and continues to follow Gibbs (with 175 wins). Because Garrett lacks a sense of balance, he can only walk with assistance; mostly he uses a wheel-chair. Garrett will always need help with his regular day-to-day living and Lorraine intends to have him live with her as long as she’s physically able to care for him. She really needs a handicapped accessible house to make that happen.

Lorraine’s younger son is nineteen-year-old Derek, who also lives at home. His budding career has yet to begin, but his forté is on two-wheels… motorcycles! He enjoys motocross racing but also the mechanical side of bikes. Derek graduated high school early and went to a motorcycle technical college in Hartford, CT. He’s trained, graduated, and ready to roll, just waiting for a position to open.

Garrett also loves engines and enjoys working with his dad in a garage filled with his very own power tools. He refurbishes old lawnmowers and sells them for $30-40.

The location of the next house will be on Route 206 in Coventry (West Bainbridge) and this terrific partnering family is ‘revving their engines at the starting line’ to get working as soon as the ground thaws! The boys and Lorraine will be expected to put in 350+ hours of sweat equity. Friends, family and even NASCAR pit crews can help them too. This is after all, a “hand up, not a handout.”

Garrett still has the Gibbs racing trophy on his dresser and reminds everyone to “Never give up!” His positive outlook and enthusiasm will help get the house built. The CCHH house will make their dreams come true with decent, affordable housing, and it will also be customized to meet their needs. That’s the whole point of Habitat; and who knows, the house may even wind up with a racing stripe on it!

Join CCHH as volunteer time, talents and resources are strongly needed. Contact Marjory Clark at (607) 764-8341; email: . Please put "Habitat" on the subject line.

You can also help by coming to the first CCHH Habitat “Souper Bowl” at the VFW, East Main Street in Norwich on Saturday, March 31. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., there will be dozens of great hot soups, all you can eat, and breads donated by the area's fine restaurants. Read about the raffles, entertainment, and more on the calendar page. For more on this event, contact Terri Bickford, CCHH fundraising committee chair, (607) 656-8155 or email:

Source: Chenango County Habitat for Humanity


Jeanie Petersen, (607) 843-2121

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