Marietta family gets Habitat home for the holidays

Tiffanee Phillips and her 8-year-old daughter will be spending their holidays in a new home with the dedication Sunday of their new Habitat for Humanity house on Green Hill Road in Marietta.

A large crowd was on hand as Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley dedicated its 103rd house. The three bedroom, two bath house sits in a country setting just outside of Marietta.

“This is so exciting … it’s incredible” said Tiffanee, the new homeowner. “It’s a little overwhelming. This is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.”

She was accepted into the program about a year ago and has been volunteering ever since. She said being a part of the process made it even more special.

“This is wonderful, we’re glad we could have this dedication before the holidays,” said Alvin Phillips, Executive Director for the local Habitat chapter.

Phillips said there is still a little bit more work to do, but they hope to do that this week. This is their fifth dedication this year.

It’s been a joy to work with Tiffanee,” he said. “It’s a good time to bring people together and celebrate.”

“This is exciting,” said Robin Stewart, Director of Resource Development for Habitat. “This is what it’s all about and to dedicate it and for it to be right before Christmas is wonderful.”

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization located in communities across the U.S. in all 50 states and about 70 countries. Its vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Families that qualify for the program need to put in sweat equity hours working alongside volunteers and also pay an affordable mortgage.

Affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International since 1990, Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley has been building houses in Washington County and Wood County. The chapter works to complete five or six houses a year, often working on a few houses at a time.

“This is one of the great rewards of this job. Seeing how happy they are and getting to work with them and know them,” said Ed Bonar, Assistant Construction Site Supervisor. “When we get done, we’ve made a friend for life.”

“This is so gratifying,” said Jerry Cline, Assistant Site Supervisor. “We’re face to face with the homeowners and we become like family. We get to know them and be part of their lives.”

“Getting people into houses makes everything we do worth it,” said Lisa Collins, Resource Development Coordinator. “Dedication day is the day we all look forward to. It’s a lot of work and this is the reward.”

Tiffanee’s uncle, Joe Casto, did some readings and said a prayer as he gave the house, that is being turned into a home, a proper blessing.

“It’s good to see the house completed. It’s a blessing,” said Casto. “Just to see the smile on her face … she’s happy.”

In addition to receiving the keys to the house, Tiffanee received a Bible, quilts and several other housewarming gifts.

The house was supported by the community, Phillips said.

“Building it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donations of money, materials and time. Volunteers put in many hours and several meals were donated for the workers. Also, a special thank you goes out to Mickey Welch, the house’s sponsor,” he said.

To learn more about the local Habitat for Humanity, to volunteer or donate, visit HabitatMOV.com.

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