Niles family’s dream of home of own a reality

Published 1:54 pm Monday, August 25, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Linda and Rodney Kirkendoll of Niles once had a dream of living in their own home.
Their dream became reality on Saturday when Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity dedicated their new build on Broadway Street in Niles to the Kirkendoll family.
Linda and Rodney have three children; Rodney Jr., Kyla and Nashawn.
The family has lived at Briar Crest Apartments in Niles for the last 14 years.
The house, which was finished last week, is the 19th home built by the Niles-Buchanan Habitat.
Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that helps people obtain affordable homes.
Linda and Rodney, who have always wanted to move into their own home with their children before their children graduated from high school, said they have prayed to God to make their dream come true.
Clearly moved by the effort Habitat members and others in the community have put in to build the house over the last few months, Linda expressed her gratitude to everyone who have been involved with the build.
She spoke to a large crowd inside a crowded house and some people were even left standing on the front porch during the dedication.
Following Linda's emotional expression of happiness and gratitude, there wasn't much left for her husband, Rodney, an associate Minister at the Word of Truth Church in Benton Harbor, to say.
After the dedication ceremony, which among other things included a candle lightening ceremony, consecration of the home and the presentation of a bible by the Habitat, Linda said the family will move in to their new home sometime next week.
Joan Schmidt, Niles-Buchanan Habitat president, has taken part in a few dedication ceremonies before.
She is glad to see so many people in the community support Habitat, not only volunteering their own time during the construction period, but also the many churches and companies who have donated free lunches, as well as building materials.
The feeling of seeing a family receive the keys to their new home is good, she said.
The new house, which is 1056 square feet, will be surrounded by flowers donated by the Niles Four Flags Garden Club.
Gayle Borland represented the garden club at the dedication. "Niles Four Flags Garden Club wants to plant flowers with the Kirkendolls to make this home even more beautiful," she said.
Borland said garden club members have already donated plants and are getting ready to start working on the landscaping around the house.
The Kirkendolls have worked hard on their new home with the volunteers.
A Habitat requirement says all adults need to put in 250 hours of sweat equity for their new home.
The Kirkendolls have spent countless hours working on their new home and one participant during Saturday's dedication expressed what he has heard other members in the community say about the Kirkendoll family.
The Kirkendolls have 20 years to pay of Habitat's interest free mortgage.