Harleysville Insures Families’ ‘Extreme Makeover’ Homes…for Free

For the next year, the Oatman-Gaitan family of Schenectady, N.Y., will not have the financial burden of paying for homeowners insurance. That’s because Harleysville Insurance, a regional property/casualty insurer based in southeastern Pennsylvania, is providing a free one-year policy for the family’s new home—through Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc., an independent insurance agency in Troy, N.Y.

Debbie Oatman-Gaitan and her four sons recently had their home rebuilt for the ABC-TV program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Their story was featured in the show’s two-hour 2007 season finale that aired on May 20.

“I was overwhelmed with gratitude,” says Debbie Oatman-Gaitan. “My children and I have received so much in the last two months, and then, on top of it all, Harleysville was so generous in giving us a year’s worth of free insurance. It was just such a blessing.”

A single mother, Oatman-Gaitan began her family in 1990 when she adopted son D.J., who was born HIV positive with fetal alcohol syndrome and other medical conditions stemming from his biological mother’s cocaine use.

“When I met D.J., he was living at a transitional facility where I worked,” she recalls. “The children there were born infected with HIV or similar medical problems. At the time, I never intended to adopt any children, but D.J. needed a home—and things evolved to the point where I had the privilege of adopting him when he was almost three years old.”

D.J., now 20, was later joined by two more adopted brothers Kevin, 16, and his brother, Brian, 15, who also was born HIV positive. Debbie’s own biological 10-year-old son, Scout, rounds out the family.

“The most rewarding part of raising my four sons has been watching them grow into young men,” Oatman-Gaitan observes. “The miracle of medicine amazes me. I have two adopted children with a medical condition (HIV) that was once considered to be terminal, but now, with new drugs and treatments, we have a great outcome.”

Dave Hofmann, Harleysville’s assistant vice president of personal lines marketing, and Bob MacChesney, president of the Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc. insurance agency in Troy, N.Y., visited the family on May 16 in their new, 3,700-square-foot home to present her with the free insurance policy.

The Oatman-Gaitan family was the fifth Harleysville has helped since establishing a connection with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” last year. The families of William and Carol Py of Philadelphia, Pa., Beverly Turner of Irvington, N.J., Jim and Gina Arena of Purdys, N.Y., and Maria and Vic Llanes of Bergenfield, N.J., previously received a year’s worth of free homeowners insurance from the company, which also is exploring opportunities to assist other families selected to appear on the show.

Source: Harleysville Insurance