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Friday, June 15, 2012

Life Produces Love - A Habitat Story of the Benford Family (Part 2)

To read the first installment in this series, please click here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 was a beautiful hot summer day. At 10 am the ceremony began for the groundbreaking of the new subdivision in the 900 block of east Martin Luther King Drive in Bryan, Texas. This is the new Faith subdivision for Habitat for Humanity. 24 homes will be built in this area. All the homes are scheduled to be completed by June 2014.  I was not able to attend the ceremony but I was able to speak with Melanie earlier this week.

Her voice over the phone is full of hope and excitement as she talks about the wall raising for her home scheduled September 8, 2012. This is barring any weather of course. One of her 3 children’s birthday is in September and I can’t think of a better way to commemorate a birthday but with the sight of the walls going up on their very own place to call home. Her voice is filled with pride and joy as she talks about how excited her children are. They want to know why they aren’t already moving in, not understanding it takes time for these things to happen.

Melanie has accepted the challenges life keeps tossing at her and is “ready for her next challenge.” Speaking with her, as a wife, mother and woman, I realize we have much in common. She is dedicated to her family and determined to do what she needs to do to ensure they are provided for. She has experienced the fear that no parent wants to experience. The cold dread that you feel when something is wrong with your child and how helpless you feel until you learn what the illness is.  Then spending countless hours not only caring for that child, but in doctor’s offices with endless visits to treat their illness. She has made decisions like we all do as parents, then agonized over whether we have chosen the right thing for our children. We all want our children to be happy, healthy and whole and do whatever it takes to make that happen.

She is a very strong, loving person that doesn’t quit. It is hard to walk some paths in life and many people choose the easy way instead of facing things head on. Melanie's determination and outlook on life reminds me of one of the many sayings I live by, “Live much, laugh often and love always.” She is an inspiration to me personally, and I feel privileged to be part of her journey with Habitat. Now, with her kiddos back to being happy and healthy, she is free to focus on the next chapter in her life.

She has completed 300 of her 500 ‘sweat equity hours’ that are required as part of the process. Volunteering in the Habitat Restore and other activities satisfied these previous hours. Now she is talking excitedly about the next 100 hours she is putting in. She said she didn’t have to do them as construction but she chose that path on purpose. Learning about how to construct a home is going to be a great and exciting change of pace and allow her to help with other people’s homes that are being raised. Then she gets to spend the last 100 hours on the construction of her own home. She and I laughed when I said that I could paint and nail and that was about the extent of my construction skills. Her response to me was, “Well that’s about all it takes to start with and you can learn the rest.” And learn we will!

I will continue speaking with Melanie as the date fast approaches to raise the walls on her home. I will take pictures to share and chronicle this momentous occasion for this wonderful family. Hopefully I will know enough construction skills of my own by then to actually help with her home. So keep checking back for the progress as this story continues.

Their home will be ready probably by Christmas if all goes as planned. For one family, it is a priceless gift they will be receiving all wrapped up in Joy and Love. As Melanie says, “Where there is life there is love.” I know this home is going to be full of life and overflowing with love, as will many of the homes that will be built in this subdivision!

Kathie Hitt
Email: kathiehitt@yahoo.com

For volunteer opportunities for Habitat, please contact:

Ryan Pierce
Director of Volunteer Experience and Communications
Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity

Visit them on the web:www.habitatbcs.org

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