Habitat volunteers here provide home for family in time for holidays

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Brothers Orion Timmons and Hunter Gard ran through their new house, laughing and playing as they explored every room Saturday morning.
The boys, along with their mother Kim Gard, and older brother Dakota, are the latest benefactors of the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity group.
The group held a dedication ceremony Saturday to officially welcome Kim and her sons into their new home.
Gard, who helped build her new house along with her Dakota, said she would work on future Habitat builds so other families could experience the joy she felt that day.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Hunter became slightly restless and began exploring the house once again, climbing in kitchen cabinets and bounding up and down the stairs leading to the basement.
At the end of the ceremony, Gard received the the keys and mortgage to her new home and Holy Bible from Catherine Marsh, the Habitat for Humanity Family Support Mentor.
Marsh will meet with Gard and her family once a month to ensure they are settling into their new home and things are going smoothly.
Gard said she hopes to have the family moved into the house in time to celebrate Christmas in their new dwellings.
As part of the program, Gard will be required to pay a no-interest mortgage on the house. The money from the mortgage will be used for future Habitat for Humanity builds.
The property where the house now stands at the corner of 10th and Dulin streets, was a vacant lot about four months ago before Habitat for Humanity began laying the groundwork for the house in August.
Dr. Dick McCreedy, construction leader for Habitat for Humanity said it usually takes about two months to survey the land, clear it and install initial plumbing to prepare the site for building.
Before construction can begin, McCreedy meets with the family which will move into the new house to discuss options for the house.
McCreedy said construction of the house was completed in 47 days, which is rare. McCreedy said most houses in the past have taken about three months to complete.
The group began work on the house Sept. 17 and finished construction Nov. 13. Typically, construction of the build house begins in October and wraps up in December, McCreedy said.
The Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity group started in 1988, born from the Wesley United Methodist Church Men's Group.
The first build project the group worked on was restoration of a house which fell into repair in 1988. The group didn't begin building new houses until the next year, McCreedy said.
Since that first new house 1989, the Niles-Buchanan Habitat for Humanity has built 20 houses in the Niles-Buchanan area.
McCreedy became construction leader in 2002, although he has been involved in the group since its beginnings.
In an effort to become a more effective leader, McCreedy studied for and attained his builders license through a course at Lake Michigan College.
McCreedy said the group couldn't have done the work they did on the house without the help of the City of Niles.
Construction of the group's next build, located at 14th and Ferry Streets, has already begun, but has been put on hold for the winter season. McCreedy said construction on the new house will resume in March or April. The projected completion date for the new build is July 25.