Smith family receive keys to new homeHabitat for Humanity dedicates 26th home in Henry County
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
It was set to be a Christmas present like no other, and thanks to a lot of dedicated workers, it was a present the Smith family was able to open early.
It’s not often that a Henry County Habitat for Humanity house gets finished almost six weeks earlier than expected, but that’s exactly what happened with the new home of Kari Smith and her family at 1303 East Thistle St., in Mt. Pleasant. On Sunday, Smith, along with her five children, celebrated the grand opening of their new home with family, friends and Habitat for Humanity partners.
“I just want to say thank you to God, my family, my church family and Habitat. This is really a great program,” said Smith during a house dedication ceremony at Church of the Open Bible, in Mt. Pleasant. “I don’t know how to express my gratitude for everyone that helped out. This is one of the best opportunities that I have ever had.”
The newly built 1,250 square-foot home for the family comes equipped with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It marks the completion of Henry County Habitat for Humanity’s 26th project. According to Lisa Diener, Henry County Habitat for Humanity president, she could not be happier for the Smith family and says she is thankful for all the effort that was put into the home in order to get the family in before both Christmas and Thanksgiving.
“Habitat is about second chances, making our community stronger and making the American dream come true for a family that just wants to make a better life for their family,” said Diener. “Kari was an exceptionally hard worker and was very enthusiastic and genuinely very thankful for everyone that was helping her make this opportunity possible for her and her family.”
As a partner with Habitat for Humanity, Smith had to engage in sweat equity by performing at least 300 labor hours towards her home and volunteer toward future Habitat homes in the area. To help her prepare for working on her own home, Smith volunteered on the crew of the last Habitat home in Mt. Pleasant. She said both projects have taught her a lot.
For her five children, Smith says the experience was also a good teaching moment. Throughout the process, her children were able to visit the worksite to help out in various ways. In addition, her children were also part of the process of designing their new home, and even got to choose the paint colors of their bedrooms.
Making the Smith’s family new home a reality was not without help from the community. The local Habitat for Humanity organization partners with various local contractors and businesses for supplies to build and design the home. In addition, a variety of organizations in the area volunteer skilled laborers to help with construction.
Among the volunteers were members of the Church of the Open Bible, where Smith regularly attends. Throughout the building of her home, members of Smith’s church family provided meals for workers and even volunteered as workers.
“We as a church are so excited and happy for Kari and her family,” said the church’s head pastor, Rev. Mike Johnson. “It’s a phenomenal thing to see come to pass, and we will continue to be praying for her and her family as they go through this exciting transition. I can’t think of a family more deserving of this.”
The family of six currently live in an apartment without a laundry room. With their new home, the Smith family will have their own laundry room, yard and even a small, attached shed for storage. Although the family is not yet moved into the house, Diener says that once all necessary paperwork is finalized, the move in process should be quick.
“This is just a wonderful day,” said Smith. “I can’t say enough about how great the Habitat for Humanity family is. They have blessed us so much.”