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House Built in Memory of Columbine Shooting Victim

Denver, Colo. - September 21, 1999 - Nearly four months after construction began, the roof is finished. The frame is complete. More importantly, another Colorado family has moved from inadequate shelter into a simple, decent house.

On Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. the Cruz family of six, who once resided in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment, will receive the keys to their new home. The house, located at 1559 Benton St. in Lakewood, has special meaning to more than just the Cruz family.

At the request of Chevrolet which sponsored the Denver Habitat for Humanity house in Lakewood, the new home has been built as “The John Tomlin Memorial House.” Tomlin was one of 13 to lose his life during the Columbine High School shooting incident last April.

Chevrolet, whose representatives felt a connection to Tomlin after hearing that one of his favorite pastimes was driving his four-wheel-drive Chevy truck, and being of service to others, decided to memorialize his life by supporting the build of a Habitat for Humanity house in his honor.

“This worthwhile project was an opportunity to pay tribute to the Tomlin family, students and friends of Columbine as well as provide an opportunity to a family who deserves better conditions in which to live and raise a family,” said Tanya Hayes, spokesperson for Chevrolet.

As for the Cruz family, moving into their new home and being able to build their house alongside friends and family of Tomlin has been what they call “a blessing.”

“Our family has been blessed with more than a house. Through this, we have gained friends, memories and an opportunity to know John Tomlin, someone who was loved by many,” said Martha Cruz.

“This was a great opportunity to celebrate the life of a young man who knew the importance of service and volunteerism,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “I truly hope that this Habitat for Humanity/ Chevrolet project contributes to the healing process for the friends and family of Tomlin.”

The media is invited to join the more than 200 people expected to gather for the dedication of the “John Tomlin Memorial House” to the Cruz Family. The event will begin with a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2. Following the ceremony, from 10:30-12 noon, there will be a block party for all in attendance.

Participants for the Cruz family dedication include the John Tomlin family, Chevrolet representatives from Detroit and Habitat staff and volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization dedicated to building homes in partnership with qualified low-income families by using volunteer labor. Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, has built more than 80,000 houses worldwide and completed 135 homes in the metro Denver area. Homes are sold to families at cost with a zero-interest mortgage. Metro Denver partner families contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity,” or volunteer labor to build their homes and the homes of others.