For more than 40 years, the Moreno family has called 501 Gibson St. home. It has been a place where Pete and Guadalupe Moreno raised their three daughters, shared special moments and made a lifetime of memories.
Over time, the work on the outside of the home has become more physically demanding than the Morenos can do on their own. However, with help from around the community, the home’s maintenance issues will soon be a distant memory.
Realtors Jim and Tina Ensinia have been friends with the Morenos for years.
“It was back at the end of March when we went to Realtor Day at the capitol,” Jim said of how the project came to life. “On the way back, we were riding on the same bus as the president with the Arlington Board of Realtors, Larry Johnson. Larry also happens to be a board member of the Arlington Board of Realtors Community Service Foundation.
“He was talking to us about the types of work they do in and around Arlington,” Jim said. “They said they were looking for a project home in Waxahachie to do. We immediately looked at each other and said the Moreno family.
“They are really, really sweet,” Jim said of the Morenos. “Pete retired from the postal service here in Waxahachie and was a mailman for a long, long time. They are dedicated to their church, Saint Joseph. They are just a really sweet family.”
According to its website, the Arlington Board of Realtors Community Service Foundation uses 100-percent of funds raised or donated toward programs within its area. The projects undertaken include the repair and beautification of homes.
After the conversation with Johnson, Jim spoke with Pete.
“We went out there to explain to them what the foundation does and what we were trying to do for the family,” Jim said. “He was skeptical at first and wanted to know how much it was going to cost him. I tried to explain it to him.
“He said, ‘Jim, people just don’t do this anymore,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right, there a lot of people that don’t but there are still good people out there in the world that want to help people out and this is one of those situations,” Jim said. “We are just trying to help you out.’”
Pete Moreno shared with the Sun that he did, indeed, have doubts at first.
“I intended to work on the house and did a little bit here and there but I was thinking that I would do (a lot) of it when I retired,” he said. “When you retire, you are already old. Then I got older and it became a monumental job (plus) the prices of everything have gone up.
“I knew that I was not going to be able to do it and was unable to pay for it,” Pete said. “That is when Jimmy came up with this thing. I told him that nobody does anything for free. I was a doubter and he could see it but, as things progressed, the reality kicked in.”
Guadalupe said the work being done on their home “means the world” to them, adding, “This is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us. I can’t describe it.”
Pete said their home is special to him because it is next to the Waxahachie ISD administration building, which at one time served as Ferris Ward Elementary School, which he attended as a child. He later moved to Mansfield but the yearning to be back home stayed with him.
“I always wanted to move back to Waxahachie,” he said. ”I have always loved these old houses. We were passing here one time when we came to visit Mother and saw this one up for sale. My wife said, ‘Can we call about it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, we can.’
“We talked to the people that had it up for sale,” Pete said. “I said, ‘We are going to have to sell our home before we can buy this one.’ He said, ‘Well, I will give you a month to sell your home up there in Mansfield.’ I said, ‘OK.’ I put it up for sale and it sold in a day.”
To have their home of four-plus decades brought back into shape is something he and his wife are grateful for, Pete said, expressing his appreciation to everyone involved in the project.
The work being undertaken on the Moreno home includes a new roof, a full paint job and landscaping. A storage shed is being updated and the project may include replacement of the front sidewalks to remove trip hazards. The foundation is covering much of the work, with a contractor from Midlothian taking care of the roof and a local landscaper taking care of the yard needs.
“The house was pretty rough,” Jim said. “It had not been painted in a while and there was some rotted wood in some places that need to be replaced. It turned out the roof needed to be replaced. The roof had been on there for 20 plus years.
“The foundation is power washing and scraping, caulking, replacing any rotted wood and then they are going to paint,” Jim said. “Then I have a local landscaper, who wishes to remain anonymous, who went out there before today and trimmed all of the bushes back away from the house so they could get to the house. He is going to go in after they are done to do some upgrading to the landscaping and make it look nice and neat.”
“This is a good thing,” Jim said. “I told Mr. Moreno that he would not have to worry about his house for the rest of his life once this is done. It is a big deal for them.”
Tina Ensinia said the project was meant to happen with everything coming together so promptly.
“I just feel like we were in the right place at the right time – and what are the odds of both of us thinking of the same person?” she said. “I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that it was a God thing. I am just super excited that it is getting done for them. I know they are feeling blessed by it and I am blessed to be part of it.”