Briana Fragosa almost jumped out of her bright pink Crocs. The butterfly pin holding back her long hair threatened to take flight as its owner bounced and bounced yelling, “Five minutes! Five minutes!”

Ray Ewing

Briana, six, was waiting for a ribbon-cutting Saturday afternoon that would mean for her not only a moment in the spotlight, but the beginning of a new life. The Fragosas were selected to receive one of three new houses that Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard committed to build on Bailey Park Road in West Tisbury. The Fragosa home is the first to be completed.

“I have two favorite days,” said Doug Ruskin, president of Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard, as a crowd of family members, friends and volunteers gathered for the reception. “The day the selected family is notified, and the day of the ribbon-cutting.”

Ray Ewing

A selection committee chooses the families that receive housing based on need, willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity during the building process and the ability to pay an affordable mortgage after the project’s completion. Briana and her parents, Jennifer and Joseph, along with the help of other family members, dedicated 600 hours to building their new home, 100 hours more than the required number. They were helped by 141 Vineyard volunteers who clocked in 2,600 hours.

“I’m so excited to move in,” said Mrs. Fragosa. “My kitchen and living room finally won’t be the same room.” And Briana will have some privacy in her bedroom, another welcomed change to the family’s current living situation. Her room is bright purple, and she got to choose the color. “Well, with a little help from Mama,” she said.

Ray Ewing

The house is recycled. The Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank took possession of it upon foreclosure and eventually passed it along to Habitat for Humanity. The whole house was lifted off its foundation and hauled in two parts, 2.2 miles from the bank branch in West Tisbury to Bailey Park Road. It was then stripped down to the frame and built back up in a very “green” fashion. The thick and compact insulation in the walls and floors make the house airtight, and special air conditioning-heating units continually filter air. Heating and electric bills end up costing a fraction of the rate most Island homeowners pay. Most of the appliances in the house were donated by private homes or greatly discounted by Island retailers, and many services are also donated, either by Habitat for Humanity volunteers or caring Vineyard businesses.

“We like to recycle peoples’ lives into other peoples’ lives,” said Neil Sullivan, executive director. “It’s amazing what the community does for these projects.” Mr. Sullivan was scrubbing the floor and putting some last-minute touch-ups on the house before the reception. He was wearing one of his many baseball caps over his long hair and a miniature hammer earring. “It’s great to have this opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment,” he said. This is the eighth house that Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard has erected and provided for families in need.

Mr. Ruskin also stressed the importance of the Island community when he stood to speak at the ribbon-cutting. “We see this as a community project,” he said. “We cannot do what we do without the support we receive from so many people and local businesses.” Mr. Ruskin read off a list of Islanders to be thanked that included all of the businesses that contribute to Habitat for Humanity’s effort, and names that he said “were not so obvious,” but needed to be recognized.

The Fragosas gave the final thank-you at the informal ceremony. Briana snipped the ribbon that was strung across the front porch steps, and took her father’s hand. After a hearty round of applause, Mr. Fragosa scooped up his daughter and turned to the crowd.

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.” But this does not mean goodbye. “And we look forward to future projects.”