An emotional unveiling of a renovated home in Harrisburg helped several families overcome tragedies, including the man's life to whom the home is dedicated.
Purple and yellow balloons were tied on freshly painted black railings in front a bright red door; a colorful day to say the least. A couple dozen people were present to cut the ribbon on the newly completed Ray Diener House.
The former crack house on Hummel Street was dedicated in memory of Ray Diener, a man who was passionate about helping the homeless. In 2007, the-65 year-old was shot and killed at random at his Donegal Township home during a robbery that involved four men.
Diener was said to be a strong supporter of the Brethren Housing Association. BHA decided to renovate the Hummel Street townhouse and honor Diener's legacy by turning the home into transition housing for homeless families. The property was purchased for $3,000 and took two years to renovate.
BHA executive director Steve Schwartz said the project was a part of the 20/20 Vision Campaign. About $100,000 was raised and hundreds of volunteer hours helped complete the home.
"Any house you buy for $3,000 is obviously a fixer-upper," Schwartz said. "We had to strip it down to basically studs. There was nothing valuable in the house and rebuild it from there, so to see it today from where it was just a few months ago is just amazing."
The townhouse is a split-level two unit home that will house two families.
Diener's wife Barbara cut the ribbon to open the home. For her, the day evoked so many emotions.
"It's overwhelming that so many people have love in their hearts and want to help others," she said. "For these women moving in, there are people who love you."
For BHA, the project couldn't have gone to more accepting families, the house couldn't have been dedicated to a more fitting person.
"We're just really excited to share that moment with their family today," Schwartz said.