First Posted: 11/22/2009
This Thanksgiving the Simmons family has something to be thankful for, because with the help of Habitat for Humanity the family has a new home.
Its awesome. Im very happy, said Kendra Simmons after the dedication of her house Sunday afternoon.
Greater Mount Airy Area Habitat for Humanity began building the Simmons home on September 12.
It was a very quick schedule, said Ginny Anderson, director of faith and community relations. Its great to have them in before Thanksgiving.
The organization had hoped to get it finished by December, but Simmons said she had thought it might not get done until mid-December. She had been hoping to be able to move in by Christmas.
Now we get to eat our Thanksgiving meal together in our home, Simmons said.
Simmons is a single mom with three kids: Symone, 15; Isaiah, 13; and Bradford, 9. She found out about Habitat through a little slip of paper that she found in the backpack of one of her sons. Now she has become part of the Habitat family.
Habitat is a good family to belong to, said Simmons.
The home was dedicated with a ceremony held at 4 p.m. yesterday. Paul Eich, new interim executive director of Habitat, welcomed the crowd gathered to celebrate the event.
Habitat is a lot of things to a lot of people, said Eich, mentioning Habitats thrift store, employment opportunities, and more. But this is what its all about, he said.
Eich got choked up when he talked about the families able to move into new homes. He said, This is families getting a start.
Since Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based organization, prayers of thanks were offered during the ceremony. There was also a scripture reading, and the Simmons family was presented with a Bible.
Mayor Jack Loftis was present to make remarks about the dedication. He said, To get organized, raise funds, and to tackle the building of a home gives us all a sense of pride, and we celebrate with you today and wish you every success in your future efforts through Habitat.
Simmons then thanked God, Habitat, her friends, and her children for their help in making the home possible. She got choked up, then turned to her children and said, This is going to be our new house.
Greg Russo, construction manager for the home, presented Simmons with the key to the 1,100-square-foot home.
After the ceremony the numerous guests enjoyed refreshments and a tour of the house.
The Simmons house is the last to go in the Apostle Drive community in Mount Airy. All of these houses were built by Habitat for Humanity.
The home for the Simmons family marks the 26th house built by Greater Mount Airy Habitat and the last building project for 2009. Anderson said the next home to be built will probably begin in Dobson in March. The organization plans to build five homes next year.
Simmons said she found out around March that she had been chosen by Habitat, but she had to wait until the three houses were built in Dobson over the summer. On Tuesday at 2 p.m., everything will be signed and Simmons and her children will get to move into their home.
The dedication was Eichs first as interim director. He was selected for this position around 2 1/2 weeks ago, after former director Tim Vanhoy died this summer. Eich said the organization is reviewing applications and hopes to hire a new director in January.
Eich has much experience with Habitat for Humanity. He has served on the local board, helped with building houses, and taught financial counseling classes. Eich said hes retired, which allows him to put in more time.
During his welcome Eich talked about VanHoy.
Hes still an important part in our hearts and our minds, but were carrying on. We still have a very active staff, Eich remarked.
Prior to the ceremony, Eich talked about the benefits of building homes for needy families.
Were building not only homes, but communities, said Eich.
He said the families often come from substandard living arrangements, but the home is not a handout. After Habitat builds the home, the families still have to pay a mortgage and pay taxes.
Eich was excited for the Simmons family and the dedication of their home.
This is a grand celebration, he said. Its good for Thanksgiving.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.