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COLUMBIA CITY â€” America prides itself on being the country where dreams come true.
For hundreds of years, people have flocked to the United States for the pursuit of freedom, happiness and unlimited opportunities. And, perhaps the greatest American dream of all is the quest for every family to have their own home.
The Habitat for Humanity (HFH) of Whitley County Women Build Program made the American dream come true for two local families as their homes were dedicated on Saturday morning.
A crew of women volunteers put on construction belts, hard hats, grabbed their hammers and learned construction skills to help two deserving families have a safe new home.
The two families selected for these particular homes, located on Ellsworth Street, are Laura Richcreek with her two children, Bennett and Evelyn, and their Labrador Atticus Finch, along with Amber Sroufe and her two children, Skye and Jamison. Richcreek is a freelance writer and Sroufe is employed at Oliverz.
In dedicating Richcreekâ€™s home, Eberhard Lutheran Church Pastor Alice Smith said a prayer for Richcreek and her children, and Dottie Cole, HFH Women Building Project Leader, presented a Bible and house keys to the family.
â€śMy God reassures me I am not alone and I believe it. My community has shown me I am not alone and I see it,â€ť Richcreek said. â€śFor me, for my children, for my community, thank you.â€ť
Sroufeâ€™s grandfather, Pastor Jim Robbins, said a prayer for his granddaughter and great-grandchildren, as Cole presented a Bible and home keys to Sroufe.
â€śI just want to thank everybody for giving me and my children a home and to help with my children, thank you,â€ť Sroufe said.
The dedication program began with HFH executive director Carl Siler and Cole welcoming the crowd and a prayer.
â€śYou gotta have everybody to make this thing happen ... and you need comprehensive community planning,â€ť Siler said. â€śWe now have eight houses in here that are buying utilities from the city and they are paying property taxes.â€ť
â€śWe did about 75 percent of the work on the homes and the rest was done by subcontractors,â€ť Cole said. â€śI ask that each and every person that attended the ceremony today go home enlightened about what Habitat for Humanity is about, encouraged and uplifted with what an awesome opportunity Habitat gives to the community.â€ť
Cole thanked Crossroads Bank for donating $5,000 to the construction of these two homes. HFH Community Relations director Mary Tobin acknowledged donor contributions and a quilt presentation to raffle winner Jim Rhodes.
Newly elected State Representative (District 83) Kathy Heuer volunteered her time to speak with the crowd.
â€śItâ€™s a great day. The sun is shining not only in the sky, but the sun is shining in our hearts today,â€ť Heuer said. â€śThis has been an incredible project and all of you are the ones who framed these houses, put windows in, doors in, you are really the strong women. It doesnâ€™t just take a strong woman but takes a woman with true strength.â€ť
Founded in 1994, HFH of Whitley County, a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is Whitley Countyâ€™s only non-denominational, Christian-principled housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in Whitley County. Working in partnership with local churches, businesses, individuals and other non-profit organizations to plan, staff and fund the renovation and building of Habitat homes the organization serves those in our community in need of simple, safe, affordable housing.
HFH homes are not given to just anyone. Prospective families must invest 350 hours of sweat equity by working to help build their own home. They must qualify with income, be able to meet the monthly mortgage payments and not be burdened with too many other debts.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity Whitley County, call 244-4479.