On Saturday, March 4, Habitat Greensboro dedicated its first ADA-compliant home for future homeowners Martha “Patty” and David and their grandchildren Jayna and Juan. The home was sponsored by the Greensboro Bar Association and is their ninth such partnership with Habitat Greensboro.
The sun shone brightly on those gathered as Habitat Greensboro President and CEO David Kolosieke opened the day’s ceremony in Spanish to honor the future homeowners, offering greetings and celebrating the day’s excitement. Kolosieke shared, “We are happy that [Patty and David] are going to enjoy the stability this home will provide for their family. This is our ceremonial day for this dedication. Soon they’ll be going through the legal closing process and taking on responsibility for an affordable mortgage. And with each one of those mortgage payments that they make, they will be building equity in this home.”
Following greetings and the opening prayer, Marcus Shields, President of the Greensboro Bar Association, shared a quote from an unknown source, “A house is made of walls and beams. A home is built with love and dreams.” He went on to share, “I think that the Greensboro Bar Association, everyone that volunteered, and each of you in attendance, know that this home was built with love, and we wish you nothing but the best. I hope you will enjoy this home for years to come and build memories and build a legacy for your family. Congratulations to you, and thank you.”
The ceremony continued its theme of celebration and gratitude as future homeowners, Patty and David, were introduced. Expressing his gratitude, David said, “Thank you, thank you, we are really appreciative of Habitat for Humanity because this help is very important. We are very happy, because now we feel secure as a family. We are waiting for our amazing neighbors and to pay forward the favors that Habitat has done for us. We are very thankful for all the help and are full of gratitude for all the help that was given. Thank you.”
Next, a tearful Patty shared her overwhelming gratitude, “Good morning to everyone. We are very thankful and give thanks to everyone for being here. For us, you guys don’t understand what this means for us. To have a home after all these years, to finally find someone who could help us because we had to go through many obstacles to have a house for my husband and my children. We’ve never had a place we could call home until we found this organization. And the only thing that I can say is thank you, everybody.”
As the ceremony drew to a close, Bill Cooke, the Chair for Habitat’s partnership with the Greensboro Bar Association, presented the Holy Books to the family – a Habitat tradition. In his presentation, he shared a brief story of Habitat homes in Florida withstanding Hurricane Andrew. As the story went, when Habitat Founder, Millard Fuller, was asked by a reporter why he thought the Habitat homes had survived when others had not, he replied, “because they are built on rock.” The reporter responded, “Rock, there’s no rock in Florida. There’s only sand.” Millard clarified, “The rock on which we build our houses is the word of God.” Bill continued, “This house is also built on the rock, which is the foundation. One which can withstand the storms of life .. May God bless this house and all who live here, and may this house be filled with His love, with His spirit, and with His peace.”
The ceremony concluded with a responsive Litany of Dedication, led by Habitat Greensboro Homeowner Services Committee member April Stockton, and a prayer by Habitat Greensboro Board member Wayne Young. Young shared, “One of my favorite descriptions of God and the Holy Spirit is the word ‘ruah,’ which means ‘the wind’ or ‘the spirit of God flowing through us.’ I think about that as we feel that breeze this morning. We know that God is here with us, and it’s evidenced by that Holy Spirit blowing through this family and all of us.”
The opportunity to purchase a home from Habitat Greensboro will be life-changing for this family. After years of struggling to make ends meet, the family suffered a significant financial setback when David’s health declined. So significant was the decline that he could not work. Martha had a great full-time job and had to resign to care for her husband. David was finally diagnosed with MS, which meant the family’s income would remain limited, as he could not return to his prior employment. Limited income meant limited housing opportunities and the inability to afford an ADA-compliant home. That will all change when the couple finalizes the purchase of their new home, which meets all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. David will be able to maneuver his wheelchair from room to room quickly and safely.