06/22/10 — Habitat cuts ribbons on 3 homes for local families

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Habitat cuts ribbons on 3 homes for local families

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on June 22, 2010 1:46 PM

Anita Hall raised her hands to the sky in praise, the keys to her family's new house dangling from her fingers.

"I used to think I didn't deserve anything good," the mother of two daughters said to the crowd of applauding volunteers who helped build her home. "I thank you, my children thank you, my whole family thanks you."

Ms. Hall became one of three new Wayne County homeowners Monday as Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne marked a milestone and set a new record for the non-profit organization.

Habitat held a ribbon-cutting for the 38th, 39th and 40th Habitat homes built in Wayne County, also marking the first occasion where three families have gone into their new houses at the same time.

Hundreds of volunteers from across the country, including college students, military members and Americorps workers dedicated months of their time to pounding nails, cutting siding and pouring concrete to build the three homes. Their efforts racked up more than 12,300 hours of volunteer service to build the houses on National Drive.

Each of the families said their lives will be changed by becoming homeowners. In Ms. Hall's previous home, her teen daughters were living in close proximity to registered sex offenders. Now, they will not have to live with that fear. The DuBois family's five children were living in a house with only two bedrooms, but will have more space in their five-bedroom house. And Millie Edwards and her daughter will finally have a place to call their own.

Cutting the ribbon to enter her new home -- a home she helped build with her own hands -- was an experience like no other, Ms. Hall said.

"That was one of the best feelings in the world," she said.

Ms. Edwards looked thrilled as she also received the keys to her new home, thanking the many people who worked to make it possible.

"We've all been in this together through it all," she said. "I feel like this would never have happened, and I love you for it."

Wal-Mart sponsored the Halls' new home, while the Habitat ReStore and Collegiate Challenge volunteers sponsored the DuBois and Edwardses' homes.

Paul DuBois said he never expected he could one day be a homeowner.

"Special thanks to my wife. I love you," he said, leaning in to give her a kiss, before accepting the keys and cutting the ribbon on their home.

Founders Jan and Bill Edgerton, who were recently awarded the Order of the Long-Leaf Pine for their work with Habitat for Humanity, took part in the special ceremony. Edgerton reminisced about the days nearly 10 years ago, before a family broke ground on the county's first Habitat home, when the program was only getting started.

"I thought if we built two or three houses a year, that would be fantastic, and now they're building I think about six or eight a year, so it's quite refreshing. It's fantastic to see the community support the program the way they have," he said.

But the Edgertons didn't want to take credit for being the ones to start it all.

"This is a Christian missions program, and without God being in it, it never would have happened," Edgerton said.

The program is working to give deserving potential homeowners the chance to purchase their own Habitat-built home. The 41st house in the county is nearing completion near Southern Wayne High School, and groundbreaking for another home on National Drive is scheduled for later this summer, Habitat executive director Ti'eshia Moore said.

"We love days like this," she said.