The sun was not as bright as the smiles on the faces of the newest recipients of Habitat for Humanity homes Sunday.
After more than 350 hours of hard work, Linda Cole of Elkin and Billy and Cassie James with their four children, soon to be newest homeowners in Jonesville, were able to receive visitors to their new homes which they will be able to take full possession of after their Dec. 15 closings.
“How appropriate in this Thanksgiving season (to have) a service of thanksgiving and celebration,” stated Claire Sellars, executive director of Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity, who expressed gratefulness to the businesses, churches and volunteers, “who helped build (these houses) and the dreams.”
The Rev. Clyde Moore, past president of Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity, affirmed, “What a miracle it is to move into a home at this season. It’s a blessing for their family and friends as well.”
Both families also conveyed their gratitude. “Thank you for making this possible,” said Cole, an associate at Lowe’s who worked with her schedule to allow her to put in the additional hours required through Habitat, as well as donating materials and labor for both kitchens. “I am overwhelmed by the love I have felt from this community,” expressed Cole with agreement from her family.
Cassie James, who has everything packed and ready for the move, was also appreciative. “Thank you to everyone for helping us do this,” she said while 7-year-old son Tristin declared, “I love everybody!”
Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity President Deborah Boulwar opened both dedication ceremonies with an explanation of how these families were able to achieve the status of homeowners. “These families worked their butts off. Nothing is given, they have to work for it,” explained Boulwar, who said completing the 350 hours of work and education is “like having a part-time job.”
“They want to build a better life for them and their families,” Sellars said of those participating in the Habitat program.
Families who want to become Habitat house owners must be able to show Family Services Director Tom Bauguess that they are able to afford a mortgage with Habitat, have a need for more than just more closet space, according to Boulwar, and they must be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity. The Family Selection Committee then visits applicants to determine if there is a need.
“You don’t have to be on the board (to be part of the committee),” stated Boulwar, who encouraged everyone to get involved with Habitat for Humanity in some way.
“Please, join the party. It’s fun,” agreed Sellars.
Sellars explained most of the funds used to complete these homes came through the Re-Store in downtown Elkin.
“The whole community came together to make this possible,” acknowledged Sellars, who also expressed gratitude to the Rotary clubs of Elkin and Jonesville, who raised more than $250,000 for Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity through their yearly golf outing as well as the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation. The ECUF has implemented a “Mountains To the Sea Challenge” in which they will help fund a house in each county with the James house representing Yadkin County.
“We experience the benefits of Thanksgiving through this special event,” said Moore. “They will remember this for the rest of their lives.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.