Home, sweet Habitat home

Published 12:35 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sherrie Stewart, center, with daughter, Jennifer, left, and her son, Nash, at the dedication of their Habitat home on Sunday.

Not even the threat of thunderstorms could keep the sunny smile off Sherrie Stewart’s face Sunday as the community gathered in Florala to dedicate the county’s third Habitat for Humanity home.
A crowd of more than 30 people braved strong winds and soggy grounds to get a firsthand look at Stewart’s three-bedroom, two-bath home, which she will share with her son, Nash.
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that works to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
Construction began on Stewart’s new Cypress Street home on Oct. 28.
“It has taken an army of volunteers who donated their time, labor and materials to make this home a reality,” said Dale Pancake, chapter director. “Group after group; people after people have helped.
“This is not a free house,” Pancake said. “Sherrie has been a perfect Habitat family.”
While the list was too long to recognize business partners and volunteers individually, Pancake said the chapter sent a special “thank you” to Shaw Industries, Greathouse Floors, Carolina Mill Work and Truss, Sothern Pipe and Supply and the Master Gardeners for the landscaping. He also thanked members of the First United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church, both in Florala and Andalusia for their assistance.
Stewart, who hopes to take official possession after closing on the home in the coming weeks, said she’ll gladly trade her leaky renovated business front/home for the new Habitat home.
“I just thank everyone one who took time away from their family to help my family,” she said. “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. The only thing I can think of to say is that Nash said he has the biggest closet in the house. He’s thrilled.”
John Croft, the chapter’s director of church relations, had some words of wisdom as he presented Stewart with the traditional Habitat Bible.
“This owner’s manual won’t tell you how to fix the AC, but on second thought that might be in Deuteronomy,” he said. “On the other hand, this is a manual about living. Within it, you’ll find all the directions you need.”
And that was just the line of thinking that first Habitat homeowner Bessie Marshall credits with achieving her home.
“I thank the good Lord for my house,” Marshall said. “I prayed and asked God to hear me and direct me. I believed He was going to help. (Anyone who needs help) should put it on their heart to ask God. He did it for me, and He’ll do it for them.”