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Habitat celebrates completion of 150 homes

Habitat family support chair Judy Durant welcomes Daniel and Ana Cruz and their son, Gabriel. Habitat family support chair Judy Durant welcomes Daniel and Ana Cruz and their son, Gabriel.

EDNEYVILLE — Twenty-four years ago a group of volunteers at First Presbyterian Church gathered to start a new chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Henderson County.

By the following May the volunteers got the organization off the ground and seven months later, in December 1989, they dedicated the first home. By the end of the following year they had built 37 homes, and it has kept going steadily ever since.
Habitat board members joined volunteers on Saturday to welcome seven families who had gotten their first safe and comfortable home. The event at the Edneyville Community Center marked Habitat's 150th home in Henderson County and the end of home construction at Shuey Knolls, a big Habitat neighborhood that was made possible by the donation of land from Margaret Shuey in 2003.
"Today we're dedicating seven homes and celebrating the completion of Shuey Knolls and 150 homes (overall) to partner families who were living in substandard, inadequate or unsafe housing," Habitat director Ron Laughter said.
Shuey Knolls now has 66 homes sheltering families that range from single moms to a couple with 11 children.
Single mothers, couples or families selected to live in a Habitat house must put in 100 hours each worth of labor on the house and must account for 400 hours through family members and friends who help. A lot of the work is done, too, by Habitat volunteers, the dozens of men and women who do everything from pouring concrete footers to nailing roof shingles to planting trees and shrubs.
The seven families welcomed to their new homes at Shuey Knolls on Saturday were Billy and Christina Ward and their sons Billy Jr. and Christopher, who are moving into the 150th Habitat house; Daniel and Ana Cruz and their son, Gabriel; James and Jodi Maney and their sons Cameron and Chase; Sabrina Gossett and her daughter Priscilla; Sharlene Carter and Darius Hill and their son, Shareff; Mayra Lozano and her daughter Jolette and son Christopher; and Noelia Cruz and her daughter Roxanna and son Alexander.
As they move into their new homes, Habitat families receive a variety of welcome gifts.
The Lions Club donates a broom, the Forrest Woman's Club donates a kitchen waste can filled with needed kitchen items and supplies; Providence Baptist Church gives used and new cookbooks and dictionaries, and St. John in the Wilderness contributes an outdoor garbage container, hose, spray nozzle, welcome mat and mailbox numbers.
Glenn Richardson, Habitat's vice president for construction, thanked the volunteers who worked on homes.
"These folks have put in untold hours to build these seven homes in addition to the other homes here and the 150 homes we've built since 1989," he said.
Habitat board president Carolyn Miller also thanked the volunteers.
"I also want to congratulate the families," she said. "You've gone on a journey and it's been stressful at times. We want to welcome you to our partner family."
"We're not stopping here," she added. "Dirt is moving at Dodd Meadows. We'll have 80 homes there. We hope to have seven homes finished by September."
Dodd Meadows, named for past Habitat president Steve Dodd, is a 20-acre development on Crest Road that will provide homes for 90 families and an estimated 300 children. It will also include 10 two-bedroom duplexes designated for seniors and disabled people and will have a clubhouse and walking trails.