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Tears of Joy Fall

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Debra Hamrick and her four-year-old grandson, Wesley, show their enthusiasm for their new Habitat home in Spindale. It is the first of 14 that will be built over the next five years.

An eight-year-old girl made her cry.

Habitat Director Kim Freeman shed tears of joy at hearing a little girl say she would never again worry about animals getting in or bugs in her bed. She heard these words at the dedication of Freeman's first Habitat House.

For Freeman it brought back memories of her mother being able to get an FHA loan and buy a four-bedroom house so that she and her sister could have their own room, even pick out the paint and carpet for their room.

With five siblings, it was quite a shift from a two-bedroom single wide.

Fourteen new Habitat houses are planned for Spindale as part of the ministry that partners with folks in need.

And who doesn't need a nice house?

Habitat For Humanity began work in Rutherford County in 1987 and in that time has built 82 basic houses. Forty of them are paid for. Mortgage income from the other 42 pays for about ten percent of the organization's local budget. The remaining budget comes from the Habitat Resale store on West Main in Forest City and grants and private donations.

For Executive Director Kim Freeman, the work is God-centered and faith-based.

"When I heard that little girl's story, I started crying and knew God had me in the right place," Freeman said.

According to the international organization, "The idea that became Habitat for Humanity first grew from the fertile soil of Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, founded by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan.

"On the farm, Jordan and Habitat's eventual founders Millard and Linda Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing." The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses would be built at no profit. New homeowners' house payments would be combined with no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising to create 'The Fund for Humanity,' which would then be used to build more homes."

Habitat is the favorite charity of President Jimmy Carter who has worked on building crews all over the world. Habitat has built homes in all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries.

The local organization purchased seven parcels of land in Spindale that will eventually hold the 14 new houses.

Freeman says the most recent builds for Habitat are "craftsman" style houses like the ones Jimmy Hooper is building on 12 Oaks Drive in Forest City. The craftsman style has a higher roof pitch, stonework on the outside and other features that upgrade the look and quality of the homes. Freeman said an anonymous donor is backing the upgrade.

Freeman said, "We appreciate all our donors."

The local group has a roster of longtime volunteers that includes: Bob Bourne, Construction Volunteer, Board Member, Executive Committee- 17 years volunteering; Bill Wells, Construction Volunteer and ReStore Volunteer- 26 years he started volunteering the day after he retired from Duke Energy; Susan Davis ReStore Volunteer- 17 years, she was there the day the store opened; Ron St. John, Construction Volunteer- 20 Years; Ginny St. John, ReStore Volunteer- 17 Years. Women Roofers have roofed at least two houses a year for the last 18 years. Charlie Yelton; Construction Volunteer and Board member- 12 years, his dad was instrumental in starting Habitat in 1987. Fred Bayley, Family Services Volunteer and Construction Volunteer- 12 years.

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