EATON — Preble County Habitat for Humanity built its most recent house for a local mother of three and celebrated with a home dedication ceremony on Sunday, June 9. The event featured a ribbon cutting, blessings of the home, and an open house.
The program began with an invocation, followed by Habitat Board President Jane Marshall welcoming those in attendance. She recognized all who helped build the Habitat House and acknowledged special guests in attendance, including politicians and the Habitat for Humanity Board.
Diane Wood performed a song for the family.
Habitat for Humanity Preble County Executive Director Toni Morgan spoke about Habitat for Humanity, its mission, the new Habitat house, and Elizabeth Comb’s family.
“Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everybody has a decent place to live. We work towards this vision by building strength, stability, and Independence through affordable housing. This home is proof that what we accomplish together changes lives forever,” Morgan said.
“All of this would not be possible without the support of our volunteers, restore customers, donors, sponsors, and faith partners. Our mission says it perfectly: seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
“When I started [at Habitat for Humanity] just two months ago, at the top of my to-do list was to get to know our future homeowner. It was during a visit to the build site that I learned about Sue’s grandma while chatting with Elizabeth and a volunteer.
“Our volunteer shared that she spent a lot of time right here on this lot as a child as did lots of other children in the neighborhood, because “Sue’s Grandma” (as she was known to them) was raising her grandchildren. We heard lots about Sue’s Grandma that day. Like about her never ending supply of snack cakes.
“What I’m sure Elizabeth and I will never forget, learning that Sue’s Grandma, knowing she was late in life and her house was beyond repair, expressed to her family that she wished they could do something like put a Habitat House here.
“In the many hours I have had the privilege of spending with Elizabeth, we have had several moments like that. I read a quote the other day that made me think of you, ‘You must become unshakable in the belief that you are worthy of a bigger life.’
“[Elizabeth] is here today as a homeowner, but the road hasn’t been easy. Elizabeth has overcome more adversity than most of us will ever know in our lives. Addiction, separation from her children, financial despair — but her story is one of hope. She is a fighter, but most of all Elizabeth has learned that this is about timing. God’s timing.
“Elizabeth, when Sue’s Grandma had an idea, it wasn’t time. When you were in the darkest part of your life, it wasn’t time. When you were reunifying with your family, it wasn’t time. Just last year, when those landlords said no, it wasn’t time. Today it is time. It is my honor, on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity Board and staff to say to you, ‘welcome home.’”
The Habitat for Humanity Board was welcomed inside the house with Elizabeth Combs and her family to bless the home. All the while, guests were outside praying to bless the home.
At press time, Combs explained a good friend of hers saw the ad for the Habitat House build and told Combs to apply. From there, “everything fell into place.” She reiterated Morgan’s words, stating her story was a long road, but she was waiting on “God’s timing.”
“Honestly, it has been a long road and this is all about God’s timing. I thought I was ready for just a rental house, but things kept happening where God said, ‘No, it’s not time.” About a year ago today I was given the news that I would be a home owner. So, my children and I are very excited. This is a huge blessing for us,” she said.
“It was amazing [being a part of the build]. Everybody I met treated me like family. It definitely takes a community to do this. We are very blessed to have met these people and to help build the home. It is something I will never forget.
“It feels absolutely amazing [to be a home owner]. I am very excited. I never thought this day would happen. Just to hear those words, is a blessing.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH