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A celebration of faith and community: Flores family ground blessing

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all photos courtesy of Alison Milam

On February 1st, the Flores family gathered in Waimanalo to break ground on their future family home. At an intimate ceremony surrounded by family, dear friends, and our Habitat team, we celebrated the momentous occasion with a blessing, a ceremonial ‘first dig’, live music and food.

“This family’s journey with Habitat has been a long one, built on a foundation of faith and service.” remarked TJ Joseph, CEO. “This project is made even more special because of their ohana’s legacy.”

For the Flores ohana, the ground blessing ceremony was more than just a symbolic start to their home build; it was a culmination of the deep-rooted commitment, enduring legacy and strong partnership with Habitat that has already been established. 

At the center of this legacy? Vernon Akina. Long-time Honolulu Habitat advocate, partner, volunteer and dedicated construction extraordinaire, Vernon will live in this home with his mother Margarita, his daughter Katrina and her 2 young sons.

If you’ve volunteered with Habitat, chances are you’ve worked with or met Uncle Vern. Since applying for his family’s own Habitat home, he has been a steadfast partner of the organization, putting over 1300 hours into helping build and repair Habitat homes.

Thank you God for brining us to this promised land. – Vernon Akina

During his ground blessing ceremony, the support for Vern was palpable. Friends and future neighbors, whose homes he had helped build, gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion. Among them were Auntie Pua, Habitat’s 2023 Wahine Build homeowner, the Sniffen ohana, 2020 Habitat homeowners, and Uncle Wili, Habitat’s 2022 Wahine Build homeowner, who all came together to extend their love and support, creating a true sense of community.


Photos courtesy of Alison Milam. View full gallery 

“Thank you God for bringing us to this promised land,” expressed Vernon. “Thank you to all of the volunteers I worked with and will work with in the months to come, and thank you Habitat for helping us along on this journey. This is going to be a huge blessing for me, my mom and our entire family for generations to come.”

As the Flores family prepares to build their dream home, the love and support from their community, faith partners, and the eager volunteers who have experienced Vern’s generosity firsthand will undoubtedly surround them.

Congratulations, Flores family! We can’t wait to build your home together.  

Learn more about how to become a Habitat Homeowner.

Want to know if you qualify for our Home Build program? Contact our office today. 

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