PIQUA — Piqua native Terri (Snipes) Chmiel and her late husband, Bill, traveled extensively during his Navy days in Mystic, Conn., so it came as no surprise to friends and relatives when they decided to retire to Block Island, located 13 miles off Rhode Island.
According to the 1979 Piqua High School graduate, the couple waited a time before they found an island home within their price range. They eventually settled on a four-bedroom cottage described as a “Block Island Charmer” which, today, is a popular vacation spot for couples and families in search of leisurely pursuits, freshly-caught lobster and the perfect getaway.
Located blocks from the downtown area and historical neighborhoods, the cottage can accommodate six or seven guests. The 1,800-square-foot home is equipped with four bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, entertainment features such as satellite/cable/direct TV, television and video library, fully equipped kitchen, deck, patio and outdoor grill.
Chmiel has graciously offered a one-week stay at her home as a live auction item at the Piqua Rotary Club’s “A Home for the Holidays” fundraiser on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Edison State Community College from 6-8 p.m. All proceeds from the event, which is being held in partnership with the international relief agency Food for the Poor, will be earmarked for the redevelopment of Haiti.
Emcee for the evening will be retired Piqua businessman Ben Scott Sr., with keynote speaker Angel Aloma, executive director of Food for the Poor. All donations will be matched by an anonymous donor. Tickets for the gala, which includes a reception, steel drum performance by Brian Leingang and program, are $50 per person at Readmore Hallmark, Harvest Pantry or from Rotary World Service Chair Sharon Semanie at (937) 615-9335.
Auctioneer for this event will be Mark Murphy of Piqua, father of Olympian Clayton Murphy, who earned a bronze medal in the 800-meter track and field event in Rio this summer. Chmiel notes there is a time restriction on the house, which is rented from Sunday to Sunday. The high bidder will have usage of the Block Island home either Sept. 10-17, Sept. 17-24 or Sept. 24-Oct. 1 in 2017.
When asked her motivation for providing a vacation for the benefit, Chmiel replied, “In 2012 nine of us (from Block Island) traveled to Haiti. Former President Jimmy Carter was instrumental in Habitat for Humanity and individuals came together to build 100 homes. We were there for a week and I have never seen such a poor country. We split up 10 at a time and worked on two houses and met (Haitian) families coming into those homes.
“The Haitians were amazing. One of the highlights for me was seeing the kids and smiles on their faces. They would go to school in uniforms that were so clean and pressed…that was so incredible.” She described her visit as “a lifechanging experience.”