Cornwall family surprised with 2019 Habitat home

The Lauzon family of Cornwall, Ont. are surprised by Habitat for Humanity Cornwall and The Counties board chairman Hank Blasiak as the partner family for a new home in 2019. Shane and Ashley Lauzon have three children -- 9-year-old Kyler (right), 6-year-old Austin (in Shane's arms) and 3-year-old Hunter. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A local family was surprised this afternoon (Tuesday) as Habitat for Humanity Cornwall and The Counties announced them as their 2019 partner family.

Shane and Ashley Lauzon and their three children – Kyler, 9, Austin, 6, and Hunter, 3 – thought they were talking to a staff member upstairs at the ReStore on Vincent Massey Drive about some logistics for the program.

Unbeknownst to them, people and reporters gathered in the lobby to surprise them and they came downstairs.

“I was not expecting this, I’ll tell you that much. But this means the world to all of us and we promise we won’t let you down,” an emotional Ashley said. “It’s honestly going to be life changing and we thank you very, very much,” Shane added.

“We’ve been through a lot. We just want a lot better for our kids and better generations. We’re very thankful and appreciative for the help we’re getting.”

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Shane said he was extremely shocked at what transpired. “Definitely not expecting it. You hope for the best. Different things in life happening so we were not expecting it at all and it was an amazing feeling. Best feeling we’ve had in long time.”

Shane says a new home will bring better living conditions for his family than they’re in now.

“We’ve had a lot of plumbing issues and mould and a lot of structural stuff. Constant pipes freezing, staying at my parents for a weekend. So it will be nice to actually bring the kids home to a safe house. We’ve been broken into multiple times so to be able to bring them home and know they’re going to be safe and not really have to stress about winter coming and the cold weather…a lot to look forward to,” he said.

As part of their agreement, the Lauzons will put in 500 hours of sweat equity, which includes promoting the program at local fairs and helping with the build.

Habitat will be building back-to-back next year and in 2020. Board chairman Hank Blasiak says they are in the final stages of securing land for the 2019 build for the Lauzons, which will start in the spring.

Next year will be the 14th build for Habitat for Humanity Cornwall and The Counties.

Habitat’s next challenge will be finding two families in 2020 as the City of Cornwall donated a piece of land around Emma Avenue and Eva Avenue, which can hold a duplex.

As for this year’s build in Williamsburg, Blasiak says that will finish with a ceremony, handing over the keys, on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.