One fine day

Published 1:30 am Saturday, November 2, 2013

The new Habitat family - Shane and Larecia Laney – smile as volunteers raise walls at the couple’s new home Friday.

The new Habitat family – Shane and Larecia Laney – smile as volunteers raise walls at the couple’s new home Friday.

Weather doesn’t stall Habitat building blitz, work continues

Friday’s rainy, dreary and depressing weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm at the Habitat for Humanity build.

Nor did it halt the work by the LBW Community College baseball and softball teams and scores of volunteers at the Airport Road site as crews raised walls and framed in the home.

With dripping hair and smiles plastered across their faces, Shane and Larecia Laney were the embodiment of excitement as the blitz began on the county’s fifth HFH home – and their new home.

Larecia works at Opp Health and Rehab. Shane is legally blind. The couple has a 5-year-old son, Brayden, a kindergartener at Straughn. The family currently lives in a rental home on Page Road; however, when they applied for a Habitat home, they were living in a rundown problematic rental, where it was nothing to see a $400-a-month electric bill.

“Brayden actually brought the Habitat flyer home from preschool,” Larecia said. “We went to a meeting and filled out the paperwork, and thought, ‘We’ll never be chosen.’ ”

They were wrong.

“When we got the news, I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” she said. “It’s just a blessing. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a blessing.”

But Shane could – detailing how, when the new home is completed, the school bus will pick up their son in front of the house; how, if something goes wrong while his wife is at work, it’s only 10 minutes to their front door; and how, thanks to the generosity of Larecia’s step-dad, Richard Howell, the family has property to construct their new home.

“And it’s a blessing to see so many people that we don’t know, out here helping us in this weather,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

The Laneys are no stranger to HFH, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization dedicated to building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. To date, the local chapter has constructed four homes – two in Andalusia, and one each in Opp and Florala. To qualify, families must meet certain guidelines, including income, one’s actual housing need based on the suitability of one’s current home; the willingness to partner with Habitat and one’s ability to repay the mortgage loan.

Families must work at least 100 “sweat equity hours” at a Habitat site, and since there is only one other upcoming build in the works, new families are needed. The Laney family earned a portion of their hours while working on the last HFH build.

“Really, there are a ton of little things that make a Habitat home a blessing,” Larecia said. “But, if you ask Brayden, he’s happy that he will soon be able to have his ‘Buddy’ back home.”

Buddy is the family’s black lab and is currently living with another family member, as the Laneys are unable to have pets at their current rental home.

Work will continue today at the home, and volunteers of all skill-sets are needed. Those wishing to lend a helping hand should contact Kylan Lewis at 334-343-2299.

To arrive at the home, traveling from Andalusia, take U.S. Hwy. 331 toward Opp. Make a left onto Airport Road. The home is at the intersection of Airport and Oliver Taylor Roads, in the Babbie Community.