The dream of home ownership has became a reality this year for two more Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan families.
House blessing services were held last weekend for both the Scott and Jennifer Harte family of Glennie and the Robert and Shera Williamson family of Alpena. Their homes were completed during Habitat's 2013 build season.
"It was really a great pleasure and honor to facilitate those blessings and just experience the excitement in the room," said Executive Director Stacy Todd.
Scott and Jennifer Harte participated in a house blessing service conducted last weekend in recognition of the completion for their new Habitat for Humanity home. Pictured with the couple are son Jansen and daughter Janae. The home is located in Glennie.
Todd said the Harte family home started out as a small cabin with no running water, electricity or heat.
"Scott is in the construction industry, but time and finances caught up to him, and the family applied to Habitat and was chosen to do a full rehab on the cabin," Todd said. "Now they have a beautiful large home."
Work on their place actually began in 2012. Many volunteers helped with the project, including representatives of Lott Baptist Church. Habitat for Humanity ReStore Manager Doug Talent, who also currently serves as acting construction supervisor, along with ReStore Assistant Manager Michael Oliver, helped with finish work so that the occupancy permit could be obtained. Also key in helping with the project, said Todd, were Ray and Delores Chase.
The home for the Williamson family, located on Long Lake Avenue, was a new construction build.
"The kids in the building trades at Alpena High School were very instrumental in helping," Todd said. "They worked from the groundbreaking to the last shingle."
Todd also said that this particular home was the last one overseen by Dave Hall, who has served the Habitat agency for many years as construction supervisor. He recently retired from those duties.
The Williamsons have four children. Completion of their home took more than year, primarily Todd said, because of the busy schedule of the family with school and other activities.
Habitat now is looking to the 2014 season when it will be engaged in a program called Brush with Kindness. According to Todd, that program features three different categories: preservation, weatherization and critical home repair.
"This program enables Habitat to help people who already own their home, but who just need some help to keep it in shape so they can remain there," she said. "We have gotten quite a few applications in. These are small projects from simple landscaping to a total roof."
The Brush with Kindness projects cover a wide variety of assistance, so many applications have been filed with Habitat. Todd said the organization is looking for more volunteers to help with these projects next spring. She is in the process of expanding the volunteer base and encourages anyone interested in helping out to go the Habitat website at habitatnemi.org and get a volunteer application.
"A lot of the work is going to be on the job," Todd said. "Experience is not required. With winter coming we are not doing a lot of outside projects, but this is still the perfect time to build a data base of volunteers and kick into gear in the spring."
The overall mission of Habitat for Humanity of Northeast Michigan a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization is to build or renovate simple, decent houses in partnership with people in need.
For more information about becoming a partner family or volunteering, call the local Habitat office at 356-3509.