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Elgin Marine gets a hand, and gives back, with help of Habitat volunteers

U.S. Marine Corps veteran RoberCintorleft  Travis Juracek constructimanager Habitfor Humanity Northern Fox Valley discuss build house 315 Jewett St.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Roberto Cintora, left, and Travis Juracek, construction manager at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley discuss the build on the house at 315 Jewett St. in Elgin where Cintora and his family eventually will live. | Erin Sauder for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 13, 2013 6:11AM

ELGIN — For volunteers of the Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, Monday’s build was special for more than one reason.

Not only were they helping to provide a home for a needy family, but for a veteran at that. About 16 people could be found Monday at 315 Jewett St., helping work on the home for Roberto Cintora.

“It really worked out that we were going to be working on his house on Veterans Day,” said Travis Juracek, construction manager at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley.

The city of Elgin partners with the organization to provide Neighborhood Stabilization Program housing for low-income families.

“It’s a great partnership we have, and it really helps us to enhance this community,” Juracek said.

The Jewett Street house project began in March and is expected to be done next summer.

Cintora, 36, will eventually live in it with his twin 9-year-old sons, Andrew and Anthony, and his younger brother, Julian.

Cintora enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps his senior year at Elgin High School. After boot camp, he attended the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and graduated as an anti-tank assault man. His next duty station was with the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines Echo Company Weapons Platoon in Camp Pendleton. His service took him to places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Jordan, Eritrea, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Australia.

Cintora was honorably discharged in August 1999 as a lance corporal, earning the with the National Defense medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, Sea Service deployment ribbon and the Rifle Sharpshooter badge.

He said he is humbled by the people who are working alongside him to build the house.

“I don’t know how I could repay them, other than paying it forward,” he said.

To that end, he and his sons help out the Feed My Starving Children organization, and Cintora is involved with the local Lions Club.

“It’s my way of contributing, because I don’t have the funds but I do have time,” he said.

As part of the build project, Cintora, a family partner, has to put in 250 hours of volunteer time.

He likes being a part of the build.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to see this go from start to finish, and I get to put a little of my own hard work into it,” he said.

He graduated from Elgin Community College with a degree in heating and air conditioning — but as for general contracting, “I’m learning on the fly,” Cintora said.

“My thing is refrigeration, but swinging a hammer is fun, too,” he said.

He plans to enlist the help of his sons and brother soon.

“I’m teaching my children how to give back,” he said.

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