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Phoenix Marines team up with Habitat for Humanity to build homes ahead of the holidays

After the pandemic slowed progress on home building for Habitat for Humanity, members of the U.S. Marine Corps stepped in to help ahead of the holidays.

PHOENIX — Phoenix Marines spent their Saturday morning and afternoon helping those in need by teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to build homes. 

"We decided that one of the things that drives the Marine Corps is to always leave a place better than how you found it so what better place than to start with home," Staff Sergeant Nicholas Grasso out of Recruiting Sub-Station Arrowhead said. 

Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona, said several homes lining 12th Avenue near the intersection of Yuma Street have been in the works for years now. 

"This is part of 30 lots the City of Phoenix basically sold to us to build affordable housing on."

But the pandemic has slowed down construction. 

"We’re almost done with building 30 new homes, you can see them all over the place on 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th but yes COVID-19 slowed us down quite a bit," Barlow continued. 

Dozens of Phoenix Marines stepped in to speed things up and spread some Christmas cheer. 

"I reached out to Habitat for Humanity to see if we could help," Sgt. Grasso said.

About 30 current and future marines were on hand to, well, lend a hand. 

"A lot of these marines are from the local area and why they wanted to be marines was ultimately service to their country, so this is a great opportunity to come out and leave the place better than how you found it and to help people who are in need."

The marines were able to connect with the families they helped.

"The homeowner is here on site she's a single mother of three, she’s just been extremely thankful and supportive to us, she’s a great woman and we’re happy to help."

Grasso said he plans to partner with Habitat more often. 

"I would like to do this at minimum annually."

Barlow said the homes should be done by January or February.

"As part of the commitment to build 30 homes we promised to renovate another 80 in the neighborhood, and we’re almost done with those too." 

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