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30 E. Preston Street

Lexington, VA 24450

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© 2019 by Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity

House Dedication for Amanda Plogger and Family

Left: Christi Coleman, Amanda's aunt, wipes tears of pride as she watches Amanda receive the keys to her new home. Center: Amanda receives a "welcome home" quilt from Rockbridge Piecemakers Quilt Guild. Right: the completed home.

Amanda offers appreciation at her new home dedication Friday, June 22, 2018.

Young couple hopes to start family in new home.

   Mac and Olivia Smiley are a young couple living in an old trailer. They want to start a family, but recognize the danger of the space: one corner of the trailer is sinking into the ground – ground that was once an open landfill; there’s a poorly-fixed hole in the wall where an air conditioner used to be; and the bay window must be covered with foam board to keep the curtains from waving in the breeze.

   We won’t get into the condition of the heating system.

   So with determination, they applied for a Habitat home. They completed the paperwork quickly and gathered all of the additional information needed. What financial issues they had, they dealt with right away. RAHfH’s family partnership committee visited the trailer and came away shaking their heads. It was almost unlivable, they agreed.

   With a positive recommendation from the committee, Habitat’s board of directors voted to welcome the Smileys into the Habitat family.

   At the signing of the partnership agreement, Mac asked about the 400 hours of sweat equity. “I’ll probably being doing all of them,” he said eagerly. “When can I get started?”

   While his ambition was admirable, Lynn Leech, RAHfH executive director, suggested Olivia take part in construction as well. Olivia readily agreed.

   They’ll be working on their neighbors’ houses in Greenhouse Village, first. Most likely, construction on their new home will begin in the fall 2017.

RCHS-built house will be home for Hindenbergers

   Students at Rockbridge County High School's building trades program go beyond on-the-job training. Under the direction of teacher Kurt Bennett, they learn about every aspect of constructing a house - not just plumbing or drywall installation, HVAC or electric. These students do almost everything on a house that will be bought by Habitat family, in this case, the Hindenberger family.

   On April 5, 2017 the two-piece modular home was moved from the high school and placed on its permanent foundation. From this point on, the new homeowner will be able to help paint and install siding and roof shingles. So far, Lilly H. has been putting in sweat equity hours on her neighbors' homes. 

   Learn more about Lilly and her family in upcoming features.

Canellas becomes Anne’s House Homeowner

    Sandra Canellas’ home was the third built in the Habitat community, Greenhouse Village.  It is also known as “Anne’s House,” and funds to build it were raised in honor of the late Anne McThenia, a guiding light and much-loved leader of Rockbridge Area Habitat. A granite marker engraved “Anne’s House,” donated by Hamric Memorials, was placed in the foundation of the home as a monument to Anne’s memory and a tribute to the hundreds of people – volunteers, homeowners and staff – who come together to make a single Habitat home possible.

   “I’m proud that Anne’s House will be mine,” Sandra said.  “Knowing about Ms. McThenia and what she did for Habitat makes me even more appreciative that the house they’re building in her memory will belong to me.”

   Canellas’s house is basic and simple: one story, about 1,100 square feet, no garage, no basement -- nothing fancy -- but it is new and safe and well-built.  It’s not what you might think of as a dream house, but it is the home of her dreams.  And this house is the result of the efforts of many people in our community joining together to achieve a single purpose:  helping someone in need.

   Habitat encourages families who think they might qualify for a Habitat home to stop by the office at 30 E. Preston St. in Lexington and fill out an application.  For more information, call 463-3770.

Carter Home Dedicated

   The fall, 2010 edition of the Homesteader introduced Melissa Carter, a hardworking mother who needed a warm, safe home for herself and her autistic, seven-year-old daughter, Ciesha, or “Ci.”  Melissa was not selected when she first applied for a home with Habitat, but rather than giving up on her dream, she entered a church-sponsored mentoring program that helped her improve her credit, secure a full-time job, and learn to budget her income.  When Melissa reapplied to Habitat in 2010, she was accepted as a family partner.

   Once a Habitat home is complete, a ceremony is held to bless the home and celebrate the family’s success and hard work.  Melissa Carter’s home dedication ceremony was held on a bright, sunny day.  Surrounded by family members, she stood on the porch of her new home, and thanked a crowd of around 50 Disciples’ Build volunteers, friends and well-wishers gathered in the front yard.

   Interim Executive Director, Lynn Leech, welcomed everyone to the event and Board Chair, Jim Kvach, thanked the 20 churches that contributed volunteers and financial assistance to the building project.  Margie Page, of Lexington Presbyterian Church, battled laryngitis to praise Melissa for her success as a mother, working person, and community member.

   Together, Melissa and Alice Waddell, co-chair of the Habitat Family Partnership Committee, lit a candle to symbolize the love and happiness that will fill the home.  Alice then led the Litany of Dedication, which ends in the simple words:

   Bless this house, O Lord, we pray.

   Make it safe by night and day.

   Bless your children everywhere

   That in your Kingdom they may share.

   After the ceremony, the crowd enjoyed a meal coordinated by Jane Ann Wells, manager at the Lexington ReStore.  Kentucky Fried Chicken, where Melissa works as a shift supervisor, contributed two pans of chicken, and her family provided tasty side dishes.

   As Ci and the other children played in the backyard, the adults toured the house, admiring Melissa’s design choices, including dark brown kitchen cabinets, pine laminate flooring, and a pretty, multi-colored ceiling fan for Ci’s room.  The rooms were bare of furniture, but filled with love and support.  Melissa’s and Ci’s new Habitat house had become a home.