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In Memory of Melissa Dugas Gutierrez

A letter from Jay and Jean Dugas

Dear Friends,

Missy’s life has been chosen by her family to be celebrated in a special way.

Yes, we are biased but we clearly saw by your heartfelt words and actions before and after her passing, you loved her for many reasons but specifically because of her ability to touch your heart in an honest, loving and caring way. Many of you were able to comfort her in various ways during the good times and during her battle with breast cancer. You helped her carry her cross. Your prayers and support were truly unbelievable. God was present in her daily life and even when times were challenging. As many of you experienced through her detailed Caring Bridge postings, she wanted to pay you back and help YOU deal with her illness by letting you know your support mattered so very much. As part of our family’s, and maybe your healing, you might want to join her family in building and dedicating a Habitat for Humanity house for a needy family in her honor.

We have chosen to celebrate her life by doing something she would want to be part of here in Albuquerque.

She would not be pleased that we are honoring her but that was just her humble way. She however would be the first to admit that whatever she gave back to her family, friends, fellow workers, coaches and fellow athletes was a product of her giving and loving spirit.

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 as a Christian based organization with the mission to provide hope in the form of quality housing for low-income families. The house chosen to be in memory of Melissa will be Unity 3, co-sponsored by a coalition of Albuquerque’s Faith Based Congregations and Missy’s family & friends. Please consider being part of her legacy. We are blessed to be able to join a Christian unity project. As Christ said to all of God’s children over 2000 years ago, it is his desire for His flock to be one. What better way to fulfill HIS desire and to honor her life than to help others in need.  This help will give real hope to one partner family (the future owners), many home sponsors, many faith congregations, Melissa’s family and friends and healing by building a community one home at a time.

The family that has been chosen was financially qualified by our local Habitat chapter as all Habitat families are. They will enter into a standard legal purchase agreement with Habitat and qualify for a NO-interest loan. Our family and the faith based congregations will have no financial or ownership role in the house.  Habitat does not give away homes but partners with families so they may become homeowners through their 550 hours of “sweat equity” working with us in a safe and professional building environment.

The critical help we need is your prayers for the safety and success of all involved in this charitable effort.

Since 1997, the Albuquerque Chapter has built high quality houses and the Unity 3-Melissa house will be the 189th house built in Albuquerque by Habitat near West Mesa High School. The Unity 1 & 2 homes were dedicated and occupied in 2017 on the same street as the Unity 3-Melissa house. There are many ways to join our vision and take advantage of the proven success of Habitat at ways our group can support.

News Flash!

We just learned an anonymous donor has made a $20,000 challenge grant. This means that your donation for the Melissa Memorial build, up to a maximum of $20,000, will be matched 1:1.  If you’d like to donate by check, mail it to GAHH, 4900 Menaul NE, 87110 and write Melissa/Unity3 in the memo. To donate by credit card use the form below. Thank you.

This life celebration is another example of the good deeds that Melissa continues to contribute to, beyond her short 46-year life.

Many of you have already donated items you no longer need to the Habitat Restore retail outlet at 4900 Menaul NE (south side of Menaul just west of San Mateo). All profits from your tax-deductible Restore purchases go directly to the financing of  local Habitat built homes. Providing lunches and volunteer labor is another way to contribute to our local Albuquerque affiliate.

Habitat provides HOPE to their sponsors, donors, volunteers, our partner families, their neighborhoods and their families. We hope you agree: Habitat is much more than a effective global housing factory! Your decision to memorialize one of these quality homes for Melissa might just fill your desire to help grieve and respect her life.

I am available to answer any question about Habitat and our family’s effort to honor Melissa but please investigate the Habitat web site before we talk. My email is


We began construction on the house on March 3, 2018. Thanks to scores of volunteers the house is well underway. You can find out more about the homeowner here. The dedication of the home is scheduled to take place just before Christmas this year; please join us for that special ceremony.  Also, as of July 2018 the challenge has been matched, thank you for your contributions. With the match you have jointly contributed $42,000!

Thank you and May God Bless,

Jay and Jean Dugas