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Building a Change for Generations

Reception in April 2008 to honor all of
the contractors who donated to the
SAFE house

Elizabeth Bevins, Director of SAFE,
Terry Cheatle, REMAX Regency, and Nicole Cheatle, Trigon Homes

Feature article in the Culpeper Star- Exponent
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Allison Brophy Champion, Staff writer

The three-story beige building on Piedmont Street went up quietly in about a year’s time, another new house in a sea of new houses. But this was not your average building project. The new headquarters for Services to Abused Families went up with faith and charity: faith that more women and children would find solace within its walls and charity worth about $150,000.

Altogether, 30 local subcontractors donated their resources, time and talent to the SAFE house, giving everything from cabinets and windows to heat and concrete. Culpeper-based Trigon Development took the lead as general contractor on the project, also donating countless hours.

Today the building serves as Culpeper’s nerve center for domestic violence outreach offering support and shelter for survivors in search of a new beginning.

Last week, more than dozen of the contractors who helped build the house of hope gathered for an informal appreciation ceremony. Most of the building professionals downplayed their participation, saying it was a just a simple matter of giving back.

New SAFE Director Elizabeth Bevins could barely contain her emotion regarding the level of generosity shown by the local tradesmen and women. “You all did an amazing job. It’s like the Hilton over here. It’s just absolutely beautiful,” she said. “It’s so bright and welcoming for our clients and our children that I really think it’s important that you all know you have really brought on a change for generations.“So thank you.”
Nicole Cheatle, manager with Trigon Development, said her company felt it was a great opportunity to get on board with the SAFE project as a way to give back to the community. “It sounded like a really good program that perhaps wasn’t getting as much help as it deserved at the time,” she said. “We felt we could jump in there and put forth some effort and really give back.”

Even as the housing market started to tank in the midst of the SAFE project, Trigon and its subcontractors remained committed. There was never any question about that, Cheatle said.
“We had already obligated ourselves so we didn’t feel like we could go back and change that and the subcontractors felt the same way,” she said. They got it, Cheatle said. “They realized what this organization meant to the community and how much it helped.”

David Dunaway, owner of Dunaway Heating & Cooling in Orange, realized what it meant because of a personal experience. “I married a girl that was from an abused family,” he said from inside the SAFE house last week. “We didn’t stay together, but I understand the importance of this. This building will do a lot of good.”

Dunaway Heating & Cooling spent the better part of a year getting permits and installing the crucial systems. The work proved challenging, Dunaway said. “Because of this corridor in the middle of it and because it has office spaces that require a lot of fresh air,” he said. “Anytime you stick an office somewhere, it’s commercial, things change.” Dunaway wasn’t too concerned about getting a tax deduction for the work. “They needed help, that’s the biggest reason,” he said.
Need was also why Matt James, superintendent with James Construction of Culpeper, got on board with the project. His company did all the site work: digging the basement, laying the foundation, excavating the parking lot, stormwater management, etc. What was the reason behind their good deed? “It’s good to help out,” James said.

Robert Gearing, owner of Gearing Landscaping of Culpeper, agreed, though at the time he didn’t fully grasp the services provided by SAFE. His company came in near the end of the project to remove debris and finish the final grading, seeding and strawing. “I knew what the building somewhat was about, but I didn’t know the extent of it, what went on inside,” Gearing said, looking around during the recent tour. “They got a playroom downstairs for the kids, offices, an apartment in here - it’s quite an operation. It’s good for the community being able to have an opportunity to come some place they might not have had before.”

Creative Touch Interiors of Fredericksburg laid all the flooring, account executive Bob Poole said, a process that involved three different trades.

NVS Kitchen & Bath of Manassas provided and installed the cabinets, taking two guys about five days, company representative Rich Perkins said. “This was one we felt it was important for us to contribute to,” he said. Every penny given meant so much, Bevins said. “One fine day all of our houses will be homes,” said the SAFE director. “It is so important that anyone who does business with you knows how big your hearts are.”

Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close, whose office works closely with SAFE, attended last week’s contractors’ get-together to show his support. Being able to refer an abused family to SAFE provides a positive alternative, he said. “It’s one of the things we’re interested in - the victim’s safety, that they have a place to go and what about the kids?” Close said. “When kids see domestic violence it really affects them for the rest of their lives so you want to try to get them out of that as quickly as you can.”

Allison Brophy Champion can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 101 or abrophy@starexponent.com

Helping make a new SAFE headquarters
The following subcontractors of Trigon Development, along with Trigon, donated time, supplies and services worth some $150,000 to building the new SAFE headquarters on Piedmont Street: 84 Lumber, Allied Concrete, Better Bollards, BL Cubbage & Sons, Blue Ridge Plumbing & Heating, Cedar Mountain Stone Corp., Creative Touch Interiors, Dunaway’s Heating & Cooling, Efficient Roll-Off & Recycling, Erick Ramos, Earl’s Glass, Ferguson Enterprises, Griffith Group, Gearing Landscaping, Mar Concrete, Mullens Markings Inc., Neff Crane Service, NVS Kitchen & Bath, Quality Pest Control, R&R Trucking, Rexel, Roof Works of Va., Samuel James Construction, Sears Commercial One, Stafford Home Products, Stock Building Supply, Tom Hanger Home Improvement, Trisons Electrical, Universal Forest Products and William Bazzle Hauling

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