"I'm struggling and I've been struggling," Vera Thomas stated in an even, undefeated voice; then adding, "I thank the Lord for Habitat."
Thomas is owner of the Habitat house that signifies Sumter County's victory over substandard housing. On Sept. 15, closing day of this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project, Habitat for Humanity and other Sumter County Initiative members will celebrate with Thomas and her family at her house in the Easter Morning Community in Americus, Ga. The former President and Mrs. Carter, along with hundreds of JCWP 2000 volunteers, will be on hand for the dedication ceremony.
Thomas was raised in Sumter County, with four brothers and three sisters. As a child she lived on two farms and eventually moved to the trailer park that she will be leaving when she receives the keys to her new house this Friday.
Having applied with Habitat nearly two years ago, Thomas stated that she was patient in the process of selecting where she would build a house. The wait paid off: her corner lot in the Easter Morning Community is exactly what she had in mind. Thomas is also pleased to have two cousins living nearby in the Easter Morning Community.
Living with Thomas in her four-bedroom Habitat house will be her son Kendra, 12, her son Theodore, 21, her daughter Lysistra, 21, and her daughter's son, Ke'Arius, 2.
Thomas' son Jeffrey, 31, formerly in the Navy, is now in a master's degree program at the University of Houston, Texas. He visited Monday to help build his mother's house.
The Thomas Habitat house has an unusual concrete-tile roof that provides good insulation and prevents damage from hail.