Community rallies to build a house for Dominic

MT. LAUREL, N.J. - August 4, 2010

Until recently, 8-year-old Dominic Stratton was living in a converted chicken coop on Hartford Road, a tiny house where the water and sewer systems were all but unusable and his parents Dave and Joanne slept on a pullout couch.

Friends and neighbors wanted to help and began an organization called Dominic's House.

"It started out as maybe a small gift basket at the holidays and, within 2 or 3 weeks, we decided to build a house," Dominic's House trustee Shirley Fayan said.

"I think a lot of people didn't realize that there were people living in Mt. Laurel in a condition like this with a little boy who had so many challenges," trustee Janice Milley said.

Through various events and fundraisers, and some help from our own Karen Rogers, who Dominic adores, volunteers were able to pay off the mortgage and knock the cramped old house down to make way for a brand new home for Dominic and his parents.

"This is an outpouring of 25 to 30 contractors and suppliers that are giving of their labor, donating a lot of material," builder John Canuso said.

The property's all staked out and construction will begin soon. If all goes well, the Stratton family will be able to move in by Christmas.

"I don't want to say it's a miracle, but it's astounding what one person can do, let alone a whole community," Dominic's mother Joanne Stratton said.

The group still needs to raise $50,000 to complete Dominic's House.

Organizers say they turned down an offer from the TV show Extreme Home Makeover because they want the local community to finish this project for a special little boy themselves.

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