Health & Wellness

9/11 Volunteer Battling Cancer Moves Into Dream Home

Our cameras were there to capture the moment Nick Ursta and his wife moved into their dream home. See their reaction and meet another volunteer who made it all possible.


It's finally here, the day Nick Ursta and his wife Margaret move into their dream home. Volunteers have been working overtime getting things ready at the Ursta home and volunteers even showed up to get Nick to the house. The Fort Cherry Ambulance service took Nick inside for the first time.

Nick is battling cancer, mesothelioma, that he got as a result of volunteering at Ground Zero in New York City after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Even with the debris in the air and ash filled with toxins, Nick, Margaret and other volunteers from the White Oak Rescue Company dug through the rubble looking for survivors and assisting people who were injured in the Twin Towers collapse. 17 years later the cancer showed up.

Nick and Margaret Ursta update Marty Griffin on progress at their home near McKeesport, PA.

When we first met Nick a little over a year ago, the cancer was getting bad. It was attacking his body and leaving him unable to finish building the dream home he planned to finish for his wife of nearly 25 years. Since then we've built a small army of men and women with giant hearts who've helped put the home together, literally piece by piece. I got to talk to Margaret and Nick as they got settled in plus a special new friend who joined the cause, getting their new home together.

You can see there are still a few things that need to be done, but the Ursta's are in their home. The heat is on, the lights are working, and yes there's even a glorious TV glowing on the wall just in time for a Steelers game.

Nick and Margaret at Steelers Camp during a special visit in August 2019.

Special thanks to:

  • TUDI Mechanical Systems: They installed a brand new furnace and donated the entire system as part of their Heat For The Needy program.
  • Kevin Anglum and Tony Napolitano: These retired contractors have done the walls and ceilings drywall and sheet rock with additional volunteer assistance from the Carpenters and Joiners Union .
  • Maury Burgwin, President of the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce : Burgwin is working with area businesses on materials and labor.
  • Anonymous: A mystery man paid for the roofing job installed by Nicolella Roofing .
  • Matt Mertz Plumbing : They have done a complete job of running all of the plumbing and making sure it's all up to code. It took a week of work and they didn't ask for a penny.
  • Michael Jacobs, President and Owner of Marvista Kitchen and Bath . Jacobs' team is working on the dream kitchen and bathrooms for Nick and Margaret.
  • 84 Lumber has donated the siding and materials to finish the exterior of the Ursta home.
  • Richard Garland and his volunteers from The Blessing Board are taking care of the labor, installing siding on all sides of the Ursta home.
  • Dan Horhut and his crew from Horthut Tree Experts cleaned up the piles and piles of debris from the trees and shrubbery that was removed from the yard.
  • Pat Molyneaux and his team at Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood for taking care of the carpeting throughout the home.
  • Levin Furniture and an anonymous donor provided furnishings for the home: living room, dining room, and bedroom.
  • Voss TV & Appliance : Matt Hufford and the rest of the family at Voss really stepped up to take care of appliances for the Urstas Kitchen and even that fabulous TV that Nick cannot wait to fire up to watch his Pittsburgh Steelers in action.

Our apologies if we're missing anyone who has helped get the Ursta's dream home ready along the way.

Follow the Ursta's Journey on Sparkt (Newest to Oldest below):

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