MOUNT OLIVE — Norce Garcia had a broad smile as she pounded the nail into the 2-by-4 board.

So did her two daughters, her sister and her two children as did the Habitat for Humanity volunteers as they as drove the nails during a recent first-nail ceremony for Garcia’s new home.

Also present was Richshawn Pratt, whose Habitat house is nearing construction next door to the Garcia home.

“I am so excited to be here and thank everybody and thanks to Habitat for Humanity,” Garcia said. “I am so happy. I am so blessed.

“I am so thankful that I am going to have my own home. I don’t what else I can say, I am so happy.”

Garcia, who works at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co., thanked those who participated in the ceremony.

The house at 108 S. Chestnut St. is the 10th Habitat house to be built in Mount Olive.

The foundation is in place.

“We are excited to be kicking off the house for Norce and her family,” said Matthew Whittle, Habitat executive director. “Why do a first-nail ceremony? Really, it is because Habitat wants to be a little bit different.

“Everybody kind of does that groundbreaking ceremony with shovels and everything, but since our volunteers are the ones who really build the houses and really make all of this possible — the framing is what they do, so that is why we start with the first nail to kick off the start of the building process.”

Normally, Habitat would begin immediately after the ceremony installing the flooring, he said.

However, with Hurricane Florence the work will probably be delayed for several days, Whittle said.

“Once this house is built, Norce and her family will be buying this house,” he said. “This is not a giveaway program. They will be buying the house at an affordable mortgage but more importantly, Norce is going to be out here with other homeowners helping to build her house.”

Habitat is a Christian-based organization, Whittle said.

Whittle said that when he was picking out a scripture for the ceremony, he wasn’t thinking about the fact that Florence was on the way.

“But it turns out, it is a pretty fitting one,” he said.

Taken from the gospel of Matthew, it was the parable of the wise builder who built his house on the rock and the foolish builder who built his on the sand.

The Rev. Patrick Muston, pastor of Selah Christian Church, gave the prayer and site blessing.

Muston said that his father was a Marine and often had to be away from home.

His parents had to take a second mortgage on their house.

“Our roof would leak,” he said. “We had the materials, but my Dad was away and we had no one help us get the work done. As a teenager, I would remember going up there with my younger brother, who is about five years younger. We did what we could, trying to do what we could to repair the roof.

“My mother took a second job to help pay this second mortgage in hopes one day to be able to get rid of the house we were in and start in a new home of our own.”

Muston, who also works at the pickle company, said he had been inspired hearing Garcia’s story and the Habitat connection.

“I thought what an honor, what a blessing,” he said. “I just look forward to the opportunity to come and share with you.”

Thetis Hoch, Habitat board president, said it was a joy to be with the Garcia family as they started a new chapter in their lives.

“I am excited about it for you,” she said. “I was excited when I was working on the house next door, and yes, I plan on putting some time in on your house, too.

“At some point in time there will be chili, OK? I will make chili and bring it and feed people.”

Mt. Olive Pickle Co. spokesman Lynn Williams said it was a joy to attend.

“When we first started building a Habitat house in Mount Olive, the pickle company, I think, was the very first to contribute, and it’s been a blessing,” she said. “We believe very much that a house foundation is for a physical place.

“But it’s also a safe place for families and provides a foundation for your life moving forward. We are grateful to be a part of that.”

The company’s employee fund also now supports Habitat, she said.

Safe places to live are needed to ensure strong families and strong communities, Williams said.

“Welcome to the Garcia family, on behalf of the area churches,” said the Rev. Dennis Atwood, pastor at First Baptist Church and a member of Mount Olive Partners for Habitat. “We look forward to working with you guys.”

Atwood said when he moved to Mount Olive 15 years ago, there were no Habitat houses on the southern end of the county, and now the Garcia home will be No. 10.

“That is exciting,” he said. “We welcome you and look forward to getting to know you and working alongside you.”

Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne has built seven houses over the past several years with Mount Olive Partners for Habitat — six in town and one in the Beautancus community.

Partners for Habitat of Mount Olive is a loose-knit organization made up of churches, businesses, clubs and individuals.

The fundraising goal for the two homes is $86,000 — $43,000 for each house by June 30, 2019.

Checks can be mailed to 131 E. Walnut St., Goldsboro, N.C., 27530, with “Mount Olive Build 2018” in the memo line.

For more information or to volunteer, visit or call 919-736-9592.

Volunteers also can register at the Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne office, 131 E. Walnut St., Goldsboro.