CEOs ditch suits to build home

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Staff report

Local CEOs were climbing a literal ladder last month when more than 100 top executives teamed up to participate in the 2019 CEO Build hosted by Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County.

CEOs and top senior executives spent two days raising the roof on the “House that CEOs Built” on land granted by the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.

The home is the third one built by CEOs. Builders raised over $350,000 to help pay for the construction of the home.

When completed, the home will be owed by Gretta Ceasar and her family. Ceasar moved from Alabama to Delray Beach when she was 14 after her parents divorced. Gretta and her six siblings lived with her uncle, while her mother worked to provide for her family. Gretta often took on the responsibility of helping her mother clean homes after school to contribute financially. Eventually they saved enough money to purchase a home.

Upon graduating, Gretta fell in love. Despite her family’s disapproval, she got married and followed her husband to Florence, Ala. After facing years of domestic abuse, she left him and returned home to her support system. A few months later, Gretta found out she was pregnant. After a difficult labor, her son Marcus was born with several congenital disorders. The doctors believed Marcus wouldn’t live long but with the continuous help of occupational and speech therapy he was able to work through his disabilities.

In April of 2015, Gretta was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After 8 months of extensive treatment, the doctors found more cancer. Gretta was ready to give up but when the tests eventually came back benign. Gretta had a new outlook on life and decided to volunteer at a local voting poll. Another volunteer encouraged her to apply for a Habitat home; however, Gretta doubted she would ever be accepted into the program. Reluctantly she filled out an application and to her surprise she was invited to the future homeowner orientation.

Gretta has worked for Palm Tran for nearly 6 years and has been saving for a home and providing for her son. Gretta is thrilled to finally move out of her mother’s house and give her son a place to call home. On July 14, she welcomed a new grandson, Malik, into their family.

CEO builders also spent time revitalizing the Marantha Haitian Evangelical Baptist Church, right behind the Ceasar family home, through Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program. That program reinvests in homes and community assets.

The presenting CEO Build sponsor is Tom Moraca of Moraca Builder. The presenting home sponsors are Rick and Pat Howard of Sklar Furnishings. Additional CEO Builders: Penny Shaffer, Market President/South Florida, Florida Blue; Angelo Bianco, CEO, Crocker Partners,Forrest Heathcott, EVP, JM Family Enterprises;Bill Donnell, President & CEO, NCCI; John Tolbert, President, Boca Raton Resort & Club; Matthew Linderman, CEO, Boca West Country Club; Patricia Nobles, Regional Manager and Florida Market President, Comerica Bank; Bradley Hurlburt, President & CEO, Community Foundation of the Palm Beaches and Martin County; Nelson Hinojosa, President & CEO, Anchor Commercial Bank; Paul Adkins, Chairman, Florida Peninsula and Santi Bernardez, Regional VP, Home Depot.