Holston Habitat for Humanity built this new brick house at 1806 West Lakeview Drive for Lisa Story and her family. (Tony Casey/Johnson City Press)
Holston Habitat for Humanity did something Saturday that it’s done 245 times before, but for the first time for the group, the keys gave entrance to a brick house.
Lisa Story broke out in tears when accepting the keys for her family, including her son, Elijah Mathes, 17, saying that it was a long, unlikely road for her to become a homeowner.
“Five years ago, I was staying at my brother’s house,” she said. “Now I’m standing here. So, this is ... really a blessing from God. No one will ever, ever, ever understand how hard it has been to get to this spot, and I thank you.”
Some of the thanks, given by Story and Art Pearce, Holston Habitat for Humanity’s executive director, were directed toward some of the project’s sponsors who dedicated their time, money and supplies to building Story the residence at 1806 W. Lakeview Drive.
General Shale, with its new Endurance Structural Brick used in the house’s construction, as well as representatives for Atmos Energy, Regions Bank, Ferguson Enterprises, Holston Habitat ReStore and all the Johnson City community volunteers who helped make Story’s house come to fruition, were thanked by everyone involved.
Habitat for Humanity, Pearce said, strives to produce energy-friendly residences for the recipients of its work, which requires its sponsors to be more effective in cost-saving materials. This is right up the alley of General Shale’s bricks used on the Story house.
“General Shale is delighted to donate our product for Holston Habitat for Humanity’s first brick house,” said Charles Smith, CEO of the company. “As energy use skyrockets and cost-of-living expenses continue to escalate, General Shale is happy to donate products aimed at reducing energy costs and improving sustainability for homeowners.”
With Story’s newly completed house, Doug Harper from Habitat for Humanity International welcomed her to the family, which he said is active in over 80 countries and 1,500 communities, saying they’ve had over 800,000 families served and are “building toward 1 million.”
Sally Lee with Holston Habitat for Humanity said the group’s Tri-Cities affiliate serves Jonesborough as well as Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport, but doesn’t break the relationship with the owners of its houses once they assume ownership.
“We really appreciate the family members,” Lee said. “They are so special to us.”
Site supervisor Robert Baker was the man to actually hand over the keys to Story, hugging her for her accomplishment to a round of applause of those in attendance.
“Lisa, here is a batch of keys. ... They’re the keys to your house,” Baker said.
For more information on the group, visit its website at www.holstonhabitat.org.
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