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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Mets alums to help Habitat for Humanity build housing later in July

Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, sitting in the Mets broadcast booth with Gary Cohen (c.), are joining with Habitat for Humanity to do their part in the local community.
(Courtesy of Howard Simmons of the NY Daily News)

Georgette Lee was nervous as she walked into the SNY booth at Citi Field Sunday to meet Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. She knew who they were, of course, but Lee is not much of a baseball fan.

Lee had come to Citi Field to say thank you to two of the men who will help build her home.

Darling and Hernandez, along with some of their 1986 world champion teammates, will hammer and paint to help build the residences at St. John's Place in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn on July 15 with Habitat for Humanity. Lee will own one of those homes in 2012.

It is the third straight year that the Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi, as part of the Mets and Citi's "Teammates in the Community" initiative, have helped Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing in the city.

While Lee was nervous, Darling gretted her, her 13-year-old son Zayyire and her sisters Delcenia and Virginia, who also are Habitat homeowners and neighbors.

"I live in Brooklyn, too," Darling said as he showed the family where he broadcasts Mets games.

Darling is particularly proud that across the generation of Mets players, they have lent a hand with the program in the city.

"My two boys and I went down to New Orleans and worked with Habitat there and it was such a wonderful bonding experience for us. I really think it's a great program," Darling said. "What's great about the Mets doing this here in the city is that so often people only think of the people in ravaged areas; sometimes it's the families in your neighborhood that need help, the family down the street."

Lee was grateful for that helping hand.

"Sometimes people reach a certain level and they don't remember where they've come from and go back to help," Lee said, her eyes welling with tears. "It's so nice that Ron and Keith and other Mets are going to come out and help us.

"I really want to thank them, and thank the Mets and Citi so much. It really means a lot to us."

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