Another House

I have mentioned in my blog several times my dad and his involvement with Habitat. My mom spent much of last year raising funds to have a house built in my dad's memory, which was completed in December of 2007. We are lucky enough that another house will be built in his memory in Shreveport, LA. this fall. My dad's siblings have been working for some time to have a piece of property dontated to Habitat. Unfortunately, Habtitat could not use the land but they were able to donate it to the Fuller Center for Housing, which is based on the same principles as Habitat. (Brief history lesson--I just found this out--Habitat was founded by Millard Fuller and at some point he broke away from Habitat and began this new foundation. Even comparing the logos you can see the similarities.)

I think my dad, who was a very humble person, would be taken aback at the positive impact he continues to make here on earth even in his absence.

Here is a short article written by my aunt in response to a Shreveport Times article written about the wall raising a few weeks ago.

In reference to the article, "Building houses helps Allendale renewal bid," in The Times on July 21, it was heartwarming to read about Janet Castanel who will be getting a new start through the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana. I have met Ms. Castanel, and she is most worthy of receiving one of the homes from the nonprofit group.

My mother, Josephine Provenza, DeFatta grew up with her 10 siblings in the two-story home that was on the property where Ms. Castanel's home is being built. The property was donated by the Joe L. DeFatta family in honor of our deceased brother. Almost five years ago on Aug. 26, 2003, our brother Ron DeFatta died at the age of 48 after a courageous battle with leukemia.

In 1990 Ron headed up a mayoral task force on housing issues that led to the formation of Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Louisiana, and he served as the first president of Shreveport's Habitat for Humanity. In the Sept. 7, 1986, issue of The Times Sunday Magazine, Ron was featured in a story about the "garden of hope" that he and two friends had cultivated on the very land where Ms. Castanel's home is being built. They planted the community garden "to provide food for those who need it and to bridge cultural gaps." Ron was always a warm, caring person who took the initiative to help others by working tirelessly for the community.

After Ron's death in Tulsa, Okla., his loving wife, Susie DeFatta, raised funds to have a Habitat House built in his memory. At that same time, our family decided that it would be a fitting tribute to our brother to donate the Allendale property which we had inherited from our mother in memory of Ron. We believe nothing would have made him happier than to know that some deserving people would receive affordable and decent housing.

Averil Miles, executive director of the Fuller Center, has been most supportive to us in coordinating this donation, and we thank him and the community volunteers for building affordable houses for hurricane evacuees and other residents who could not otherwise afford their own homes.

As a final comment, I would like to encourage other Shreveporters who have property in Allendale to consider a donation to the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana so that more homes can be built "on higher ground," both to continue the renewal of Allendale and to change the lives of deserving people. For more information, call Averil Miles at (318) 221-7474.

Angelina DeFatta Rice lives in Shreveport.

So, deep thoughts, I was on my way to work the other day and I was thinking about my life's purpose. I realized that even though I have no idea what it is, deep down everyone wants to make the world a better place. There is no doubt in mind that my dad helped make the world a better place for so many people and continues to do so even now.


  1. Katie,
    My heart was touched to read your blog entry, "Another House." What a beautiful thing that a Habitat house was build in honor/memory of your father. Also, thank you for appealing to land owners in Allendale to donate property so more families can have decent & durable homes in Allendale. Please send to your mailing address if you would like for me to send you a newsletter & dvd about Fuller Center work worldwide. Linda Fuller


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