One of the founders of the Paul Stefan Foundation of our Lady of Guadulupe and its director, Randy James, appeared in front of the town council committees with a proposal to turn what is known as the “Klotz Building” at 6 North Irving Avenue into a home for unwed, pregnant women.
James presented three different scenarios that he said could work for the town and the foundation. The first includes the town granting PSF the property at “no cost” with PSF assuming all costs to renovate/operate the home. In a second scenario, PSF would enter into a lease agreement at $1 a year with the town for no less than 10 years once the property is renovated. If the lease isn’t renewed after 10 years, then the town would reimburse out of proceeds from the sale of said property the renovation amount up to $50,000. In a third scenario, the town would renovate the property and PSF would enter a lease agreement or a purchase agreement that is agreeable to both parties.
James went on to state that scenarios one and two were easier the foundation to handle due to not having to worry about a monthly lease amount on top of the normal monthly bills. He also presented a yearly budget which amounted to $43,000 for the home. This includes $7,000 for utilities, $30,000 for the director’s salary, $2,000 insurance, and $4,000 for travel and office support.
The foundation was started following the death of James’ son, Paul Stefan, at 42 minutes of age. James’ wife, Evelyn, while pregnant with Paul Stefan, was informed that he had a lung disorder that made him unable to live outside the womb. They chose to carry to full term, and deliver, versus aborting, as part of their religious faith.
PSF calls itself a pro-life foundation that works with women who are involved in a crisis pregnancy. It is supported by numerous Catholic Parishes from around the state of Virginia. Father Francis M. de Rosa, of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Colonial Beach, is backing the proposal. Father de Rosa also stated that Guadalupe Free Clinic, which is part of his church’s ministry, would help to serve the pregnant women as part of their work.
According to James, PSF has helped 150 mothers and babies since it began. Pregnant women are sent through an application process that involves a phone interview, a personal interview, and a team interview, prior to being offered residential, or non-residential help.
Councilman Tim Curtin revealed his thoughts on the partnership with the Paul Stefan Foundation the day after the meeting. Curtin revealed that his mother became widowed not quite two months prior to his birth.
“Mom was instantly thrust into the role of an unwed (well, widowed) mother the night my father took his own life in their home.
“In addition to having to deal with the stresses of childbirth and the aftermath, she was under a fair amount of pressure from family/friends to give me up to someone with a more stable home.
“She didn’t, to my unending gratitude.
“So, you see this is not only something that I believe is a good deal for the taxpayers, and an opportunity to save an old building from inevitable destruction if it isn’t fixed up.
“It’s a tribute to my Mom. “
Curtin continued that, in his opinion, not only would this be a good addition to the town, but it would also save a historic building. He also stated that this would show a public/private partnership which was one of the things the town was informed that the Revitalization Grant was short on.
Council requested that town manager, Val Foulds, advertise for a public hearing at the Oct. 11, council meeting on this issue. All interested citizens are asked to attend.