Teneshia Willingham couldn't hide her big smile March 24 as she was handed the keys to her new Winfield home.
Willingham and her 8-year-old son, Tydarius Elam, are the recipients of the 60th house built by volunteers for the Augusta/CSRA Habitat for Humanity. They were presented with the official key and a Bible by executive director Dennis Hoyt.
"I love it," Willingham told the group gathered for the dedication ceremony. "I really enjoy it and I know, as the days go on, I'll enjoy it even more."
Volunteers from several Winfield-area churches began organizing the project about two years ago.
"It all started with the piece of earth we are standing on," Hoyt said. "From that grew a home."
Lloyd DeFoor donated the property on Old Winfield Road overlooking Cobbham Road. Volunteers constructed the 980-square-foot home with two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen with eat-in dining area, laundry room and a family room.
Willingham, a Winfield native, formerly lived in Lincolnton, Ga., and it was a 40-minute drive to her job at Blue Ridge Elementary School. The 20-minute drive from her new home is nice, she said.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 and sells the homes to homeowners without profit. Volunteer labor and donated supplies keep costs to a minimum, according to the program's official Web site.
"This looks good," DeFoor told Willingham as she greeted guests for the dedication ceremony. "I know it's been a long time coming."
As the recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home, Willingham was required to perform 500 hours of sweat equity.
"I did a little bit of everything," Willingham said. She helped install the roof and vinyl siding.
Willingham worked hard to make her house into a home by spending nearly every evening getting everything unpacked. The front and back porches are lined with flower pots as the lawn takes root.
Tydarius' love of sports is evident by his sports-theme room.
"He loves to play on the outside," Willingham said as Tydarius streaked across the front yard with a football.
Willingham said that since she was a child, she's dreamed of owning her own home before she turned 30.
"My dream has come true," Willingham told the gathered group at the dedication ceremony. "Sometimes, you've got to be patient. That way things can fall into place."
Hoyt said Willingham's home is the third Habitat house in Columbia County, and the farthest one out - 26 miles from the supply center.
"It was a learning curve for us," he said.
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