Graham Habitat for Humanity completes, dedicates 13th home
Since 2006 Habitat for Humanity of Graham has provided 12 houses to families in need. Recently, a 13th house has been added to their list: 213 Gleese St., built with the help of 14 different Graham church, civic and corporate groups over 12 Saturdays.
The house was being built for the Tate family – Vickie Tate and her daughter D.J. – who have lived in Graham for five or six years in an apartment. The idea to apply for the program came to Tate from a coworker at Graham Savings who was affiliated with the Habitat for Humanity program in the past.
“She suggested it and so we went to the first meeting and I had actually gone to two meetings and the first time I didn’t turn the application in because I didn’t think that we would qualify, and then the next year came around and everybody just kind of kept pushing and pushing and were like ‘you should do it, you should do it, you will never know until you do it.’”
Tate applied and was accepted into the program. Construction on her new home began March 28, with Tate and each volunteer group working every Saturday from March through July to complete construction on the house. Though Tate was born in Graham, her family moved away shortly after she was born, but she came back to the city around eight years ago.
“It’s kind of crazy that I was born here and moved away and I have lived my whole life away from here and then God kind of brought us back and he gave us a house and the job that I have, and the family that I have and the church that I have here, so he definitely made a plan for us to come back and stay,” she said.
Despite wanting to be up in the rafters doing heavy-duty work, Tate said she could not work on every section of the house at one time. Through the many weeks of the construction process, Tate said, she learned something very special about those involved.
“I probably didn’t learn a whole lot about construction which is ironic because that is what we did, but I definitely learned a lot about the people of Graham and just how awesome those groups that came out and helped, how they saw it as helping God love on a family and how awesome that was,” she said.
Tate said that up to 20 people would show up from various groups on Saturday to lend a hand with the construction, but it was the more personal group of five that showed up every Saturday who affected Tate the most.
“One of my favorite things was J.R. (Yancey), he’s the older gentleman that does a lot of it and he would just whistle and sing the whole time, so that was neat,” she said. “They all were just wonderful, especially on those days where it was just us (five) … You get to know each other a lot better then when trying to kind of share your attention with 20 other people.”
The home that was constructed is 1,020 square feet with central air and heat, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Tate said the home will be cheaper than her apartment and it is something she personally worked her hardest to complete.
“It was something that I wanted and it was something I knew was going to be good for me and my daughter,” she said. “The work that I put into, I don’t think I have ever worked that hard for something and it is definitely my second favorite blessing, next to my daughter.”
On Tuesday, July 11, Tate received the keys to her new home. She said she was quick to pack and move from her apartment complex.
“I went straight home and started packing and loading stuff up and we got over there and Saturday was my first night to actually sleep in the house, so that was cool, to wake up Sunday morning,” she said.
Her daughter is at church camp until Friday, but Tate said the girl has already decided where she is going to put her bed and how she is going to set up her room.
“When we had the dedication, some of her friends showed up and she was like, ‘This is where I’m gonna put my bed and this is my bathroom and Mom said I can decorate it.’ So, she is 12 and she is kind of getting to that age where she is getting a little more independent, so she is super-excited about being able to decorate and paint and make it her own,” she said.
For Tate, the smell of a new house and working doors and light switches are something that make her emotional, but so does the feeling she gets knowing her daughter has somewhere to belong.
“It is going to give her a place that she can call home, so that is awesome,” she said. “She won’t have to move anything anymore and she can paint her room and she can have friends over and she can have slumber parties and we can dig up the backyard if we wanted to. It is a home now and it is ours and we don’t ever have to leave and that is pretty awesome.”
Tate could not be more thankful for the 14 different groups in Graham who contributed to her new home and her new life as a homeowner in Graham.
“They are very kind and caring people and they really have a heart for this ministry and I think God has really used them to help a lot of people. I don’t think it would be as successful, if it wasn’t for Kay and Jim (Guinn) because they really go beyond what they have to in order to make people comfortable,” she said.
During the week, Tate would drive by the house with her daughter since the child was too young to be involved in the construction. It was during this time, she said, it became evident to her the house was their’s forever. She couldn’t find the words to describe that feeling, even during the home’s dedication.
“It’s hard to explain it. When we did the dedication, they wanted me to get up there and do a testimony and I was like, my words are kind of my thing … but I don’t think there is a word or a group of words that really describe how it feels or what God has done,” she said.