BACAVI—As Red Feather’s “Official Hand Tool Supplier” and Title Sponsor in this September’s Shebola family home, Stanley has teamed up with Red Feather Development Group to build a model sustainable home as one potential solution to the housing crisis on the Hopi Reservation.
This project welcomes home a Hopi family—the Shebolas—who were forced to leave the reservation for medical care of seven-year-old Leukemia survivor Matthew Shebola.
When Kerri Shebola learned that her son Matthew had acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, it meant uprooting the whole family from everything they had ever known. The Shebolas left their home on the Hopi Reservation to seek medical attention for Matthew in Tucson, where the small family took up residence in a small furnished apartment.
In order to fund their travel to Tucson, the family held a yard sale and sold many of their household belongings. Matthew endured chemotherapy treatment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately the treatments failed, and last June Matthew underwent a marrow/stem cell transplant as a last-ditch effort to save his life.
Although successful, the transplant has severely compromised Matthew’s immune system and requires that the family live in a very healthy environment though his recovery process.
According to Red Feather Development Group founder and Executive Director Robert Young, “Kerri, Matthew and Kerri’s nine-year-old daughter Danielle want more than anything to live in Bacavi. Their time in Tucson is the only time that Danielle and Matthew have spent of the reservation. They both want to be with their extended family again and to be with their friends at the Hopi Day School.”
There is one caveat: Matthew must return to a “healthy home” that will not compromise his already vulnerable immune service.
Since the transplant this June, Matthew has virtually no immunity against infections or sickness. All of the immunizations he received as an infant must have been “erased” from his body as the donor cells rendered them ineffective, leaving him vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening illnesses. Unlike most, Matthew cannot fight viruses, bacteria, or even mold and spores.
Most Hopi homes are heated by coal- or wood-burning stoves. The particulate matter and carbon monoxide generated by these stoves or by forced air heat could compromise Matthew’s health.
A Red Feather home for the Shebolas in Bacavi will use an efficient, non wood- or coal-burning heating system, which reduces the amount of particulate matter (dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and germs) circulating in the home and does not require a crawl space. There will be no carpeting to harbor allergen-producing dust mites or mold-causing spores. We will use low-to no- VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, varnish and solvents. Furnishings will be solid wood rather than composite products dependent upon formaldehyde.
Additionally, the super-insulated exterior straw bale walls will reduce temperature fluctuations felt within the home despite the extreme outdoor conditions of the high desert, rendering the home more comfortable to live in overall. The straw bale wall itself maintains the home’s ability to breath—in effect filtering the air inside the home.
The Stanley challenge
Single mother Kerri Shebola has taken a temporary leave of absence from her ten-year employment with the Hopi Tribe so that she can tend to Matthew’s needs and alleviate the stress of working full-time while raising two children. However, this leaves the Shebola family unable to afford a home that will meet Matthew’s health needs.
In response to the Shebola’s circumstances, Stanley Tools has donated $30,000 toward the material costs of the Shebola home. In addition, Stanley will match dollar-for-dollar every donation made to the Shebola family home up to $15,000 total which will bring Red Feather very close to covering the costs of the materials for this home.
Stanley employees will spend the last week of September volunteering their time to complete this home and adding valuable “sweat” equity to the home alongside Hopi tribal members and Red Feather volunteers from across the country.
Stone Gossard, guitarist for the band Pearl Jam, has significantly supported this home project in addition to Meyers Park United Methodist Church of Charlotte, N.C.
Additional assistance in the form of donated materials include Bosch power tools, Moen plumbing products, ThermaTru exterior doors, Aristokraft cabinets, Whirlpool appliances and construction materials from Lumbermens of Flagstaff.
Red Feather and Stanley challenge you to join us in bringing Matthew, Danielle and Kerri back to Hopiland. Get involved—there’s still time to help. When you contribute today, your dollars will be doubled by Stanley.
For information, or to contribute towards this worthy project, contact the Red Feather office at Red Feather Development Group, Shebola Home, P.O. Box 907, Bozeman, Mont. 59771-0907.