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(A) Home For The Holidays
Habitat Home 1
Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul greets the Nardello family when they arrive to receive their renovated house. The 3-month refurbish project was a joint effort with the City of Oakdale, Bank of America, and Habitat for Humanity.


Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky for single mother Sharon Nardello of Oakdale as she received the keys to her three-bedroom home that was renovated by Habitat for Humanity.

The 3-month refurbish project, a joint effort with the City of Oakdale, Bank of America, and Habitat for Humanity, provided the Bardo Avenue home at a reduced mortgage amount so that the family could get into the residence under the city’s first time buyer program.

“It’s amazing, I can’t wait to move in,” said an excited Nardello, 45, who works three jobs to keep her family afloat. “I’ve watched the house develop over the last few months. I’m so grateful.”

Nardello, who has lived in the city for two years, said she had made offers on other homes in the area but was beat in the bidding process and went to the city for down payment assistance under its first time home buyer program. She completed various mandated classes to get the grant and learned from Oakdale Housing Services Coordinator Lourdes Barragan that she had been accepted.

“I wanted to stay in Oakdale,” said the mother of two young teen children. “I have so many great friends here.”

Nardello said that when the project called for community volunteers, the Oakdale Junior High School Band Booster Club stepped forward to help out. Her daughter, Taylor, 14, is part of the band.
“I’ve never felt more part of a community than when here,” Nardello said. “I love this town.”

“The donation of these properties by Bank of America is a tremendous boost to our efforts to revitalize neighborhoods while serving the area workforce with much-needed affordable housing solutions,” said Anita Hallam, executive director for Habitat for Humanity for Stanislaus County.

This is the organization’s first endeavor for Oakdale.

Habitat’s director of projects, Evan Yoshino, said the home was approximately 130 years old when they took on the undertaking of putting in insulation, new electrical and plumbing, and putting in dual pane windows.

“We essentially built the house inside the original house,” said Yoshino, explaining that the original structure had “barn walls.” “Now the house is very energy efficient.”

“It’s scary how the house looked before,” said Nardello. “I saw the vision though.”

Nardello received the house during a small ceremony in her new driveway as the sun shined on a brisk December morning and birds even chirped in the background to add effect to the “feel-good” moment in the community.

Representatives from Oakdale’s Grocery Outlet let the family know that the kitchen was well stocked with over $450 in groceries as well as presented a $250 store gift card.

More than 20 persons, many friends, family, and customers and aquaintances from Nardello’s three jobs watched as the house was blessed by Eric Kjeldgaard of Agape Children’s Ministry and Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul presented Nardello with the keys to the new home.

Nardello invited all to tour her new home as she prepared to move in.

“That’s OK, I have a vacuum cleaner,” Nardello responded as some gatherers joked they would track in mud to her beautiful home.

As she prepared to unpack, Nardello summed up her past few months, “This experience has been fun, exciting, scary, and one of the best ones of my life.”