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Photo by David Colburn
Ernestina Garcia and her daughter, Crystal, pose for a picture during the tour of their new home at 132 E. Third St. in Roxana. The home is complete after nine months and 200 hours of Ernestina’s own “sweat equity,” as well as the generous contributions of individuals and businesses.
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Photo by David Colburn
The sign outside the Garcias’ new home includes a full list of donors and contributors to Habitat for Humanity’s nine-month journey in creating an affordable Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant house.
ROXANA — Habitat for Humanity dedicated a recently completed house April 11 to an excited family of three, following nearly a year of planning and hard work.
The Roxana home at 132 E. Third St. was presented to Ernestina Garcia, her daughter Crystal Garcia and granddaughter Nevaeh Garcia following nine months of construction, beginning last July. Ernestina put in more than 200 hours of “sweat equity” in the home’s construction and renovation.
“She painted, helped clean up,” said Debbie Davis, president of the Wood River chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “Whatever she could do, she did.”
“This particular house was a special build,” added Brian Orr, the chapter’s treasurer. “We built a special bathtub and took down walls for the remodel.”
The house complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act to satisfy Crystal’s mobility needs following a car crash.
“Life is a blessing,” Crystal said during the tour.
Habitat of Humanity, as a “people-to-people partnership,” is committed to “build decent affordable housing for people in need,” according to the local affiliate’s website. Habitat for Humanity International was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976 following missionary work in Zaire (presently known as the Democratic Republic of Congo). Former President Jimmy Carter’s 1984 work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, popularized the organization and expanded affiliation nationwide. In 2008, Habitat for Humanity’s 300,000th house was built in Naples, Fla.
The Wood River chapter is part of the Lewis and Clark Affiliate, which spans Madison and Bond counties through seven chapters — Alton, Collinsville, Bond County, Highland, Wood River, Edwardsville-Glen Carbon and O’Fallon.
“Our chapter covers Wood River, Roxana, South Roxana, Bethalto, East Alton and Cottage Hills,” Davis said.
When discussing how Habitat for Humanity operates, Davis explained the organization provides a “hand up,” not a “handout.” New homeowners sign to a 30-year loan at 0 percent interest and pay home insurance upfront.
Habitat for Humanity thrives on volunteers’ help in the preparation of each house.
“One group we’d like to specifically mention is the Illinois Baptist Women’s Association, who spent an entire week helping with the framing and siding of the house,” Davis said. “The Women’s Missionary Union have helped in the initial construction of Habitat homes both locally and internationally for a number of years.
“Habitat relies on donations of foreclosure homes to be remodeled and sold,” Davis said. “Once Habitat for Humanity closes on a local house, they tithe to International at a rate of 10 percent in order to help build a house abroad, generally in South or Central America.”
Although the Garcias officially took possession of the house April 15, they were ecstatic to tour their soon-to-be new home a little early.
“We really appreciate it,” said Ernestina as she and Crystal explored the kitchen and bedrooms.
Mark Allison, secretary and construction coordinator of the Wood River chapter, gave the official dedication at 5 p.m., taking the time to thank donors and presenting the Garcias with a cleaning kit from Proctor and Gamble.
Following the aforementioned Illinois Baptist Women’s Association, Allison thanked Precision Electric & Lighting Supply for providing electrical supplies; Whirlpool Corp. for providing a stove, washer and dryer; Chase Bank for donating houses to rehab; the village of Roxana for providing free sewer and water taps; Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center for providing pre-built walls; Dawson and Stephanie Cooper for donating the house’s lot; Bucks Decorating Center of Godfrey for providing flooring; Larry Stahlhut for building surveying; ElectricPros for electrical labor; Budget Signs, Awards and More for providing signs; the Lewis and Clark Highway Construction Program for student labor on the sidewalk, driveway and backyard shed; and Wood River Township Kiwanis, William and Mary Birdsell, and Wood River Refinery and Edward Jones for cash donations.