Emotional, grateful and blessed
Habitat for Humanity welcomes family to new home
Story and photos by Eileen Persike
Habitat for Humanity Northwoods celebrated the completion of its 21st project Monday in Rhinelander. Tuesday, the three-bedroom house on Phillip Street became home to Kelly Craig and her children, Maria and Trent. But more than a home, it means a fresh start.
“It means my family can start a new life together,” Trent said. Rather than going to college, the 20-year-old spent the summer working on the house, putting in a majority of the 250 hours of sweat equity required of Habitat homeowners. “I was happy to help and enjoyed it.”
During a dedication ceremony, Kelly spoke to the assembled board members and volunteers. In a dictionary, the definition of the word “home,” she said, simply means a place to live permanently. More than a place, she said, it’s a feeling.
“This home was not built by concrete and wood, but with the bond of family, friends and selfless acts of community volunteers,” Kelly read from notes while fighting back tears. The “H” in humanity, she said, stands for “having stability and security for my family.”
Trent echoed his mother’s thoughts, saying he is excited for the home his mom and sister now have.
“They’re going to be able to do what they want here, have their own beautiful place that they never had before,” Trent said. “Mostly I’m happy for my sister; she’s never had this opportunity. All the houses they lived in were not the greatest. So this is awesome.”
The 2018-19 Rhinelander high School building trades class built the structure on school property, and watched as it was hauled on a flatbed truck to the permanent site last spring. The class put up the drywall, taped and mudded the walls and installed windows. From there, Habitat for Humanity volunteers took over, laying the vinyl plank flooring and carpet, installing cabinetry, finishing the bathroom, painting and other finishing work.
Homeowners are selected through an application process. To be considered, applicants must meet certain criteria, including income limits, must have the ability to obtain a home loan and make payments, provide sweat equity, undergo financial counseling and be living in a home that is overpriced, overcrowded or in disrepair.
For more information about qualifications or to volunteer, visit habitatforhumanitynorthwoodswi.org.