EATON — Over a year since construction began, Habitat for Humanity volunteers turned the keys of a new home in Eaton over to its new owner this past weekend during a dedication service.
Habitat for Humanity celebrated National Women’s Build Week in Preble County on Saturday, May 2, 2015 when construction began on the home at 213 S. Cherry Street in Eaton. Many volunteers and hours of work later, the brand new house for Debbie Chasteen and her sons was dedicated in a special ceremony held Sunday, May 22.
“This is one of the highlights of the Habitat board’s experience and its volunteers — to actually dedicate the home after all the hard work and sweat equity that the new homeowner has put in,” said Wayne Morrison, past President of the Habitat board.
New board chairman Ron Baker and his wife Elaine said the build could not have taken place without the hard work and dedication of the board, its volunteers and donors.
“We’re really excited that everybody got here today and they get to see the accumulation of a lot of hours put in,” Elaine Baker said. “We want to thank everybody who did the plumbing and the electric. The volunteers that came in and helped us out through this whole thing. Everybody who has taken a part, we really appreciate it.”
Habitat is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds with people in need regardless of race or religion, and welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.
Habitat has more than 1,400 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world. Together, they have helped 6.8 million people improve their living conditions since our founding in 1976.
Habitat’s partner families buy the houses that Habitat builds and renovates and Habitat makes no profit on the sale.
In the United States, Habitat homeowners purchase their houses through affordable monthly mortgage payments.
Habitat’s homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.
Families in need of decent, affordable shelter apply to their local Habitat organization, called an affiliate.
Each affiliate’s family selection committee chooses Habitat homeowners for their local area, based on three criteria, which include the family’s level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program, and their ability to repay the loan through an affordable payment plan.
Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection.
“I kind of, sort of, knew what Habitat did. But I didn’t know how the program worked. I certainly didn’t think it was something that would benefit me,” Chasteen said. “It’s been a wonderful trip. I’ve made a lot of friends here. It’s been a lot of hard work.”
Chasteen thanked those who helped make this day possible.
“This just feels so unreal to me that my mind just cannot even believe it,” she said. “I just want to say thanks. If there is someone that I am forgetting, I apologize. Those who were here weekend after weekend know who you are. I really appreciate all your help.”
Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat’s homeowner families.
“We want to thank God for everything he’s done for us,” Elaine Baker said. “God allows us to do this. He brings the community together. He brings the family together. He is the Habitat. It’s not us. With prayer we’ve build this house from beginning to end.”
This is Habitat’s 17th house built on donations and with the manpower of volunteers and the home recipients in Preble County.
“This has been a Preble County Ministry. We’ve put houses all over the county. Here lately it seems like Eaton has been the focus,” Morrison said.
Elaine Baker said the property for the next build has already been purchased. She noted, the organization is looking to expand outside of Eaton in the future.
“We want to get outside of Eaton. So this is kind of our plea time for those that are in Gratis, West Alex, Camden, New Paris. We are looking to do some work outside of Eaton,” she said. “If somebody in your community or goes to your church and they need something don’t be afraid to contact us.”
To volunteer or donate, call 937-472-0002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.