MESSENGER PHOTOS | MONA MOORE
MESSENGER PHOTOS | MONA MOORE

Archived Story

A community’s blessing: Habitat dedicates home to family of 10

Published 1:18pm Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Troy family learned what a little patience and a lot of hard work could get them Saturday when Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity handed over the keys to a new home.

Alberta Pennington, matriarch of the family of 10, said the family had been working with Habitat since 2009 and their new Martin Luther King Drive address was he second one they’d had in the process.

“The first house site was down the street. The foundation cracked and we had to wait another two and a half years for them to find another location. They picked the whole house up, left the foundation and moved it here,” said Pennington.

She assumed custody of two of her grandchildren after her oldest daughter died in a motor vehicle crash. Two of her daughters and their five kids will also reside in the five-bedroom, two-bath house.

“We always dreamed of a bigger home and more space,” she said.

The dream became a reality thanks to a zero-interest mortgage from Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity, a down payment and hundreds of volunteers.

John Dew, former Habitat board president, said the house was a collaborative effort from Troy University staff, students and athletic teams, churches of all denominations, visitors of the area and residents of Pike County. Mayor Jason Reeves said that was the beauty of the project. “Not only is this home a symbol of love,” he said. “But all the people that have worked on it – whether they’ve lived here all their lives or are just passing through – will take a wonderful gift of sharing with them and an experience they will remember all of their lives.”

City Council members Charlie Dunn and DeJerilyn Henderson joined Reeves for the dedication.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to have this home in our community,” Henderson said. “And I’m thankful to Habitat for coming into this community.”

Jasmine Chievous, Troy University Athletics’ life skills and academic coordinator, was thankful for the opportunity to help build the home.

“It overwhelmed me with joy, such a blessing,” she said. “There are so many things we take for granted. I was just complaining about my dishwasher not working. To see the conditions some of these families are living in is humbling.”

The family will move into the new home next week, but the children wasted no time settling in Saturday after a Habitat dedication ceremony.

“I like the room and I like the floors,” said 5-year-old Decarri Pennington.

Thinking of future hiding places for hide and seek, 5-year-old Janiyah Daffin  and 7-year-old Darionna Pennington said they liked the bathrooms and closets best.

“I like my room, how it’s painted,” added Tasheiona Pennington.

Their mothers were just as happy.

“It’s pretty exciting just to have a place where we all can just call a permanent home,” said Leshionda Pennington.

Lasheka Pennington will not be moving into the home with her mom, sisters, nieces and nephews. She attended the celebration and added her signature to the Pennington/Habitat agreement during, a symbolic part of the dedication ceremony.

“I’m just thankful to God and to Habitat for this beautiful home,” she said.

Alberta Pennington wasn’t discussing her move-in date or the long road of sweat equity it took to build it. She surveyed the front yard for ways of making it a safer place for the children to play. Her biggest concerns were speeding cars and her home’s position at the end of a road and bottom of a hill.

But the smile never left her face.

“I’m just thankful to have my house,” she said.
Habitat is always looking for volunteers and professionals who can offer their unique skill sets to building someone’s dream. To get involved, visit troypikehabitat.com or call 372-7578.

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