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Habitat gives families lifetime gift

There have been lots of movies and comedy skits made over the years about the trials and tribulations of owning a home.

Friday, November 12, 1999

There have been lots of movies and comedy skits made over the years about the trials and tribulations of owning a home.

The skits usually center around everything that can go wrong – the stairs that collapse, the paint that just won’t stick.

And, if you have ever owned a home, you understand just what the frustration of not having a landlord to call means.

When something breaks, fixing it is up to you.

Ironton residents Gary and Nancy Leadingham understand that being a homeowner is not easy, but they can’t wait to try.

The couple were the latest recipients of a house built by volunteers of Habitat for Humanity, a charitable organization that provides families that might not otherwise be able to afford a new home the chance to try.

A special dedication and housewarming party were held recently at the Leadinghams’ new home at 1401 S. Fourth St.

In addition to the cermonial presentation of the keys, there was also a visit from Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary and special comments and blessings by Habitat for Humanity president Lew Dunn, the Rev. Don Friend and Richard Munn, another Habitat volunteer.

Getting a new Habitat house doesn’t come easily, either. Once their family is chosen to receive a Habitat house, its members must contribute "sweat equity" to get the work done.

In Mr. Leadingham’s case, when his turn came, he was no stranger to hard work. He had already volunteered his services on many other Habitat building projects. This time, the only difference was that the house he was building would be for him, his wife and teenage son.

But the volunteers cannot build houses alone. The Leadinghams’ home was sponsored by Dow Chemical in Hanging Rock.

Without this corporate partner, there is no way Habitat could provide the homes at such an affordable cost. Dow Chemical and its many employees should be proud of what they have given not only to the Leadinghams, but the other families whose homes they have sponsored.

Habitat for Humanity also understands that families should not just get a house without any investment of their own, either. All families who receive homes from Habitat are required to work on them and then pay for them with an affordable monthly payment so that other families can benefit from the programs.

Owning a home might have its drawbacks, but there is nothing like knowing that you have a place of your own. Habitat makes that dream a reality for families that could not otherwise ever think of doing anything but rent.

When you are thinking about places to make donations this holiday season, Keep Habitat in mind – and help make a family’s dream come true.

Renee Carey is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.