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National Grid helps Habitat for Humanity rehab Roosevelt home

Cathy Nesser, right, of Brooklyn, and Evelyn Liddle,

Cathy Nesser, right, of Brooklyn, and Evelyn Liddle, left, of Syracuse, are two of the 30 National Grid employee volunteers who partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Nassau County to help renovate a home in Roosevelt on June 10, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Jessica Rotkiewicz

National Grid kicked off its Power to Serve initiative on Tuesday when 30 of its New York employees volunteered to help Habitat for Humanity of Nassau County, a not-for-profit that provides affordable housing for Nassau County residents.

"This is our chance to give back to the community," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York, who borrowed "The Wizard of Oz" quote "There's no place like home" as his Power to Serve motto.

Volunteers, some of whom had never held a hammer, propped themselves on scaffolding, removed debris and prepped a house in Roosevelt for siding. Renovation amateurs were supervised by Tom Baccarella, director of operations for Habitat of Humanity in Nassau.

National Grid's volunteer effort helped Habitat regulars complete a month's worth of renovation in just hours, said Michael Pfeiffer, Habitat of Nassau's executive director.

"This morning the grass was up to here," Pfeiffer said, placing his hand level with his waist. "Thanks to the help, we've mowed the lawn and cleaned out a lot of garbage already."

Involvement from outside corporations like National Grid is commonplace for Habitat of Humanity in Nassau, which has help from a different organization each week, according to Habitat volunteer Mike Weinick, of Merrick. Weinick is one of 12 regulars, most of whom are retired, who volunteer full-time for Habitat.

The renovation site, a skeleton of a foreclosed Roosevelt home, had been in possession of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, an organization that acquires, rehabilitates and resells vacant homes. It will be sold to a family from Roosevelt able to afford the cost of the home.

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