ASP wraps up year with gifts of six newly built homes

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 2, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Appalachia Service Project wrapped up 2018 on Sunday with the dedication of six newly built houses gifted to low-income Tri-Cities residents by the ASP Home Replacement Program with help from its funding partners, contributors and volunteers.

The group’s CEO, Walter Crouch, said the recently completed houses — two in Johnson City, one in Jonesborough and three in Bristol — went to families, couples and individuals with a compilation of housing needs and a single common denominator.

One had lost her previous home to a fire. Some owned houses that needed more repairs than the cost of building a new home. Others were renters without means of ever becoming first-time home owners.  What they all had in common, Crouch said, was “they really couldn’t afford adequate houses.”

But through the home replacement program launched by ASP in the wake of the 2012 flooding in Washington County’s Dry Creek community, each received a mortgage-free home intended to help multiple generations of their families escape the grip of poverty.

To celebrate, the new homeowners, ASP representatives and a group of ASP’s most generous volunteers gathered for dedication ceremony and open house Sunday afternoon at the new Jacob Buchanan home on Johnson City’s Eastside Avenue.

The ceremony included the presentation of six new sets of house keys, six new Bibles and a prayer for the future prosperity the newly established households of:

• Buchanan, a young man who helps care for his aging grandmother;

• Christy and Jeff Joseph, who are raising three of their grandchildren and needed additional space for the children;

• Margaret Clark, who has lived in Johnson City since she was a small child and watched the city grow up around her;

• Susanna Martinez, whose former home recently burned down;

• Roger Dalton, a local veteran; and

• veteran Rickie Fleenor and his wife Penny.

For the veterans, the ceremony included special gifts from a veterans group that presented decorative wooden flags of honor to hang inside their new homes.

And there was also a gift presentation for ASP, a $25,000 contribution from Solid Rock Carpenters, a group of volunteer builders from Chicago who have been building walls and framing houses for the ministry for the past five years, including six sets of walls, one frame-in and a variety of final touches on the recently completed ASP houses.

With plans to build dozens of new homes in the year ahead, including 22 in nearby Hancock and Sevier counties and up to 50 in flood-ravaged sections of West Virginia, the funds will go to good use.

Other contributors to the recently completed houses include the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, the Johnson City Community Development Block Grant Program, the Jordan Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation, the Home Depots of Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport, Bristol Motor Speedway, Braswell Family Farms, Stanley, Black & Decker, Dewalt, Holy Taco, Chick-fil-A, Tupelo Honey, Cootie Browns, Food City, Foster Signs, the ETSU Bridge Program and local churches.

In addition to next year’s home replacements, Crouch said the ministry’s annual summer home repair program this year will involve some 16,000 volunteers from across the country in up to 550 major home repair projects in communities across the Central Appalachians.

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