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Habitat Homeowners Celebrate Best Present of All

New Habitat For Humanity Homeowners Celebrate Best Present Of All Family’s First Christmas In New Home

AMERICUS, Ga., Dec. 20, 2002 — Families who have moved into their new Habitat for Humanity houses this year know that there truly is no place like home for the holidays. Thousands of families will be celebrating their first Christmas in their new Habitat for Humanity homes this holiday season.

• Dwight Nichelson never learned to read or write growing up, but at age 60 he is working with a literacy teacher to help him. His teacher suggested Dwight apply for a Habitat for Humanity home and Dwight, his wife, Janice, and their 12-year-old grandson, Ben, recently moved into their new Habitat home. They had never been able to own a house until Habitat for Humanity helped them to build and buy their home. “Sometimes, if we wait long enough, have enough patience, faith and trust, and work hard enough, those things we need and long for do come to us,” Nichelson said.

• Bob Clark, his wife, Paige, both 29, and their three children recently moved into their wheelchair-accessible home, specifically designed to accommodate Bob’s needs. A May 2000 car accident left him paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Since the accident, the family has been learning how to live with Bob’s special challenges, including how to navigate in homes where Bob can’t move freely from one room to another, reach most storage areas or make his own meals. Their Habitat for Humanity home in Hastings, Neb., has wide doors and hallways, durable flooring, low sinks, counters and appliances and a large roll-in shower. “I can’t deny that we are really blessed,” Bob said. “From the beginning, I’ve been amazed at the support we’ve had from our church, from my former employer and from so many of our friends and neighbors. Churches and people we don’t even know helped us. We had people coming out of the woodwork to help us. It’s truly amazing how people turned out to help us and Habitat.”

• Stephania Murphy has worked as a secretary in the Oncology Department of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark., for eleven years. Stephania and her children lived in a series of low-rent apartments, in which they were twice the victims of burglary. Once, her kitchen ceiling leaked for a week from the overflowing bathroom upstairs before she could get her landlord to make repairs. With the help of hospital coworkers, her sweat equity hours were quickly achieved. Last month Habitat for Humanity turned over the keys to a simple, decent house to Stephania, her children and grandchild. For the first time in many years, Stephania will put up a Christmas tree.

“As we celebrate God’s greatest gift to humanity, we know that owning a home is one of the greatest gifts we can share with our neighbors,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “Reaching out to those who are not as fortunate is what Jesus Christ taught us to do.”

To find a Habitat for Humanity homeowner celebrating their first Christmas in a Habitat home in your area, log on to www.habitat.org to contact your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 87 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.