Together, Jeremy and Mandy Davis lifted up a wooden wall stud on their future home on Williams Street in Clinton.
They were not alone. Volunteers helped them raise the frame on top of concrete and brick foundation. If plans stay on schedule, the Davis family will move in by Christmas with assistance from the Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity (FAHFH). The organization held a “Home for Good” Wall Raising Day on Friday.
“I feel a lot better,” Jeremy said. “To know that the walls are going up is actually a good thing.”
Mandy is excited about the progress as well, showing appreciation for the volunteers.
“It’s all coming together,” Mandy said. “It’s like a Christmas present.”
Tammy Laurence, chief executive officer of Fayetteville Habitat, and other officials are eager to see them move in too. The home is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.
“We’re so thankful this day has come,” Laurence said. “It’s taken a few other things to get us rocking and rolling again.”
FAHFH is a nonprofit organization with a goal of eliminating poverty in Cumberland and Sampson counties. They also work to improve neighborhoods.
Funding was provided by the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation. The Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina (HHNC) and the SECU signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a joint initiative to increase affordable housing throughout the state.
The goal is also known as the SECU Habitat Mountains to the Sea Challenge. It provides an investment up to $10 million during a three-year period for HHNC to build or thoroughly renovate a home in every county in North Carolina. FAHFH was given the opportunity to build in Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson without an operating Habitat affiliate.
The Davis house is one of five houses planned for the area. Three more will be built on Williams Street. One more will be added on nearby Johnson Street.
“The way that we get this done is by all of us coming together and joining hands because it’s Habitat’s mission to show God’s love to build homes like this one — to build communities and to build hope,” Laurence said. “That’s what we’re all about. Today, we’re bringing more hope into Clinton, North Carolina.”
Laurence is proud to have the Davis family as new neighbors, since she lives a few blocks away. She was joined by city officials who also call Clinton home. Some of them were Councilmen Darue Bryant of District 5 and Daniel Ruggles of District 1 and City Manager Tom Hart.
Bryant said having Habitat in the area is very encouraging for not only his district, but for the community as a whole. He added that it gives people a chance to become homeowners and not just renters.
“It’s a blessing and this program is really a miracle and God sent you to come into our community,” Bryant said. “Once again we appreciate you coming here and for the financial support.”
Ruggles said it’s good to have Habitat in the community, while acknowledging everyone involved in the process. He said it feels like one big happy family.
“It’s good to work together and the community is only as good as the people in it,” Ruggles said.
Hart said he’s happy to see the organization come to the community. He married into a family that was involved in the Appalachia Service Project, which had a similar mission to Habitat. He also echoed Bryant’s statements about the importance of home ownership.
“This concept of home ownership is so built into our psyche as Americans,” Hart said. “Home ownership has been something that we value as a society for a long time.”
A few other supporters were Wendy Harris, chairwoman of the Fayetteville Habitat; and J.W. Simmons of SECU, who said he is proud of the organization’s investment and goal to have Habitat homes in all of North Carolina’s counties, especially in Sampson County.
“This is truly one of those situations where it’s a lock-arms, move-forward issue,” Simmons said. “It’s not one, it’s not two, but it’s an entire community and an entire city.”
Shawn Dean was one of many volunteers who helped the Davis family.
“It’s so nice to have people who can actually achieve the dream of owning a home,” Dean said. “I’ve been a part of it for years and I really love the way they help people.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.