Healthier Sussex County Initiative Joins Habitat for Humanity to build two homes in Georgetown

The CEOs of Bayhealth Medical Center, Beebe Medical Center, and Nanticoke Health Services, under the collaborative initiative Healthier Sussex County, joined with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity to bless a new project to build two more homes in the Georgetown Point Community. 

Over the next few months, employees from the three hospitals will volunteer their time and work with other volunteers, as well as the future homeowners, to build the two houses. The three CEOs, Terry Murphy, FACHE, of Bayhealth, Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE of Beebe, and Steve Rose, RN, MN, of Nanticoke, also will participate as volunteers in the construction process. They will work together onsite on August 23 during a special “CEO Build Day” to show their strong support in this new partnership with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.  

“These three great health care institutions in Sussex County have joined together with the goal to make the residents of our county achieve better health,” said Tom Protack, Community Engagement Director for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, at the groundbreaking ceremony on July 10. “They have chosen to partner with Habitat to share their energy in helping build these two homes and to show their commitment to this collaborative mission.”        

The homes are being built for Kisha Jones and her two children, and Antonia Velasquez and her three children. Both women work in the healthcare industry in Sussex County. The women not only will participate in the construction of their homes and others by working 250 hours a year, but they also are purchasing the homes with a not-for-profit, 30-year mortgage through Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. It is anticipated that these homes will be completed within five months.

“Today we are celebrating not only the ground-breaking of these two homes, but also the progress we are making with the Healthier Sussex County initiative,” said Mr. Fried of Beebe Medical Center. “We have discussed what we can do to keep people in Sussex County healthier through addressing disparities in healthcare and education and working with our community members to help engage them in making healthier lifestyle choices. We recognize the importance of our partnerships with Quality Insights of Delaware, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, La Red, and now Habitat for Humanity to make Sussex County among the healthiest counties in the nation.”  

Mr. Rose of Nanticoke Health Services pointed out in the past year Healthier Sussex County has focused on addressing the high rate of diabetes in the county and increasing screening for breast cancer.  

“Following a community needs assessment, we now also begin initiatives to address obesity and to increase screening for prostate cancer.”  

Mr. Murphy of Bayhealth Medical Center recognized the volunteers present for the double project blessing for giving of their time when they could be relaxing and enjoy the summer.  

“You deserve a round of applause,” he said. “And we are pleased to be part of this overall work for Sussex County.”  

Other volunteers who took part in the groundbreaking and blessing ceremony included: students from Seton Catholic High School in Binghamton, NY, Heritage Shores Military Club from Bridgeville who were volunteering on the nearby Veteran Build Project, and longtime Habitat volunteers. The two houses are being built in Georgetown Point, a single-family neighborhood where Habitat for Humanity has purchased 22 lots.  

“Habitat homes are the labor and fruits of many individuals,” said Kevin Gilmore, Executive Director of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, during the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is a place to raise children. My vision is to be standing on the doorsteps of your home for its Dedication and blessing by Christmas.”  

Through the Healthier Sussex County initiative, the three hospitals join with local community and health resources to focus on one mission – to make Sussex County one of the healthiest in the nation.  

Healthier Sussex County focuses on addressing important health issues impacting residents of Sussex County by identifying and addressing health disparities; identifying and addressing health education; and making a positive impact on health behaviors. The web address is: www.healthiersussexcounty.com. For more information on how you can also volunteer to work on these houses, please visit the website, www.sussexcountyhabit.org.