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Andalusia Habitat family celebrates Thanksgiving

The Marshall family will mark their first Thanksgiving in their new home.| Kendra Bolling/Star-News

One would imagine the prayer said at Bessie Marshall’s Thanksgiving meal would go something like this – “Thank you Lord for my family, and thank you Lord for Habitat for Humanity.”

The Marshall family – matriarch Bessie, daughter Terri, and grandchildren Jacard Townsend, twins Ian and Iana Smith – were chosen in 2009 as the recipients of Andalusia’s first recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home.

It took nearly six months to complete the four bedroom, two bath home on Bagley Street.

The family, along with countless numbers of volunteers, worked to make the home a reality.

Marshall and her family have been living in the home since the beginning of May and she said she couldn’t be happier or more thankful.

“Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays,” she said. “I always love it. I’m going to cook here, and then we are going to get together at other family members’ homes.”

Marshall said she loves her home so much that she hates to leave.

“I love living here,” she said. “I leave, and I don’t stay away very long.”

Still, Marshall said what she’s most grateful for this Thanksgiving is the outpouring of support the community gave to provide her family a nice home.

“In thinking about this house, I can’t put into words how much I appreciate my home,” she said. “It’s a blessing straight from heaven. I give God all the praises.

“To the people who can out and helped, I can’t thank them enough,” she said. “I wish I could thank them one by one. I thank God for them daily.”

Marshall’s family followed suit in expressing what they were thankful for, too.

“I’m thankful for just being in the house,” Terri Marshall said. “Also being here to see another Thanksgiving.”

Ian Smith said he’s thankful to have his family this season.

“I’m thankful for my family,” he said. “They mean everything to me.”

Iana Smith had a list of things she is thankful for.

“I’m thankful for my granny (Bessie Marshall),” she said. “I’m also thankful for my new home. It’s better and more comfortable. I’m really excited about celebrating the holidays here.”

Jacard Townsend said he’s thankful for having a new house this Thanksgiving and that it’s in a good neighborhood.

While the family will travel for Thanksgiving, Marshall said her family will celebrate Christmas at home.

“I always like to be at home during the holidays,” she said. “I don’t like to travel, but we always celebrate and give thanks.”

The Marshall home was the second Habitat home constructed in the county. At present, there are three families on the waiting list for homes; however, additional funding is needed to make the builds possible.

Anyone wishing to make donations or to pledge in-kind services or materials can call 222-0827 or by mail at P.O. Box 1034, Andalusia, AL 36420. Donations are tax-deductible and checks should be made to “Habitat for Humanity of Covington County.”