Habitat for Humanity–North Central Georgia held a First Nail Ceremony for four families recently at the Villages of Park Creek neighborhood on the border of Cherokee and Fulton counties, with more than 125 volunteers, sponsors, staff, board members, and family members celebrating the beginning of construction.
"We are pleased, too, that with these homes we are helping to revitalize an abandoned, partially built-out subdivision that fell victim to the real estate recession," said Russ Hayes, Habitat for Humanity–North Central Georgia's CEO.
The build is also marked by a special “Breathe Easier, Build Smart” home sponsored by Merck and the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.
"We are honored that Habitat International, Merck and AAFA–out of the 1,500 Habitat affiliates in the U.S.–selected Habitat-North Central Georgia to build one of the four allergy- and asthma-healthy homes that Merck and AAFA are sponsoring nationwide as part of a campaign to educate families how to maintain a healthy home environment and manage these medical issues,” Hayes said.
The first home is being built in partnership with the Gibson family. Mother, Vernita, has three children ages 10, 7 and 1. The Gibson family is originally from New Orleans. She is employed at Wal-Mart and is working to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.
“We all await many laughs, tears and hugs to come in gratitude for this profound gift. We will show and give this house a tremendous amount of TLC as it will become a part of us,” Gibson said.
Her home is being built with funds provided by both local churches and business sponsors. Contributing both sponsorship funds and volunteers are , and Travelers.
The second home is being built in partnership with the Hite family. Dawn and Casey have three children ages 10, 5 and 1. Dawn is employed at a plastics manufacturing company and Casey works at an auto repair shop.
This family has endured many challenges and has come out of each one stronger and more hopeful, Hayes said. They couldn’t be happier with the prospect of having their own home to raise their family.
This home is part of the annual ecumenical build with church sponsors including Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Roswell Presbyterian Church, Roswell United Methodist Church, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, St. David’s Episcopal Church, St. James United Methodist Church, St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Schoen Insulation Services and its vendors provided the funding to purchase the land for the Gibson and Hite families.
Annalise Yu and her two children ages 18 and 2, are the third partner family.
“I always wanted to have a home so my kids could have a safe and better place to stay instead of moving from apartment to apartment. Now with God’s permission and all of the help from the sponsors, I will have a beautiful new home,” Yu said.
This home is funded by several business corporations, including Citrix, Logic Trends, MetLife, Newell Rubbermaid, PCL Industrial Construction Co., SCANA Energy, Schneider Electric, Siemens and Sullivan & Schlieman Wealth Management.
The fourth home is sponsored by Merck as part of its Build Smart, Breathe Easier campaign to help educate families about the importance of maintaining an “asthma-healthy” home and ways to help manage the disease.
The home is being built with Joyce Obele and her six children, ranging in ages from 8 to 16. Obele's mother, Cecelia, who lost a leg to diabetes, will also live with the family. Originally from Nigeria, Obele and her ex-husband left their home to provide a better life for her children. She is employed as a nurse’s assistant and is pursuing a degree in human services.
Her oldest daughter is currently attending military college and will enter the U.S. armed forces upon graduation. Her oldest son attends a charter school for the exceptionally talented in music and fine arts and plays the keyboard, violin and viola.
Two of her younger children suffer from asthma and have been hospitalized several times due to the disease. The Obele family’s new home will include asthma-healthy features. Some of the special features include:
- Paint with a VOC-free, antimicrobial finish, which prevents the adherence of mold or bacteria;
- Hard surface flooring such as wood, vinyl or linoleum;
- Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) filters with higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value ratings, which capture more and smaller-sized air.
“Merck is pleased to join forces with Habitat for Humanity North Central Georgia and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America on the Build Smart, Breathe Easier national campaign to educate about the importance of appropriate asthma management,” said Tara Camp, director of Global Communications at Merck.