HENRYVILLE, Ind. – Bishop Mike Coyner and Indiana Conference VIM coordinator Beth McDaniel were on hand Saturday, Dec. 15, as Habitat for Humanity of Indiana (habitatindiana.org) dedicated ten new homes completed during a two-month Blitz Build in the Twin Oaks subdivision of Henryville. Each home, replaced a house destroyed by the March 2 tornadoes, which destroyed or damaged more than 400 homes, buildings and the Henryville elementary and high schools.
Keys were presented to each of the ten families during a 90-minute dedication service attended by more than 300 sponsors, donors, volunteers, families and guests held at the Henryville Baptist Church. The service was held in the church’s gym, as the church continues to rebuild its sanctuary damaged by the March 2 tornado.
Each family also received a Bible (a Habitat dedication custom). Many of the Bibles were given by United Methodist churches involved in the Blitz Build. Included in the key and Bible distribution were Lois Ketterer, who served as the Nasby’s family advocate, and Jane Galownia, who served as the Guernsey family advocate.
The Indiana Conference, the only church sponsor, provided $100,000 for two homes and worked with Vicky Guernsey and Anthony and Melissa Nasby in the building of their homes. The funds came from contributions given by United Methodist congregations across the state during March and April. Hoosier United Methodists gave more than $658,000 to tornado relief and recovery efforts in southern Indiana.
The average size of a house is 1,200 square feet and includes living room, kitchen, two or three bedrooms, two bath rooms, laundry-utility room and a one-car attached garage.
Other home sponsors included: The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) under Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, The Ogle Foundation, Lowe’s of Clarksville, Cummins, Inc., the Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association and the Home Builders Association of Southern Indiana.
‘Never been prouder...’
During the 90-minute service, U.S. Representative Todd Young said, “I have never been prouder than to call this region my home.”
He continued, “We (Hoosiers) still have time to stop, care and offer assistance… During this disaster, neighbors went from strangers to friends… And I never heard the question, ‘Why me?’ Today, we celebrate Habitat’s commitment to this great state.”
According to Gina Leckron, State Director of Habitat for Humanity of Indiana, more than 1,500 volunteers worked on the ten-house build that began Oct. 8 and finished with the presentation of keys and transfer of property Dec. 15. Leckron further said 66 Habitat affiliates from across the Midwest including New Albany, Des Moines, Iowa and Elkhart participated in the build.
“They came together as a Habitat community,” she said.
Indiana State Representative Ed Clere, District 72 of New Albany, a real estate agent, helped obtain the ten adjacent properties in the Twin Oaks subdivision.
During the service, Coyner read from Romans 8:28 saying, “In everything, God’s at work for good… Even in tragic moments, we can thank God for working together for good.”
All ten families expressed their overwhelming gratitude to the sponsors and volunteers for their efforts in building their homes. Each homeowner worked side-by-side with hundreds of volunteers who worked on each house. Each home owner worked more than 200 hours as a down payment on their property and will make monthly interest-free payments on their loan. These funds will be poured back into Habitat for Humanity to provide for the administration and purchase of property for future homes. For more information, visit habitatindiana.org.
The Indiana Conference also was honored that evening during a Christmas dinner at the Country Lake Christian Retreat Center north of Henryville by the Volunteers ROC local disaster response team for the volunteers and nearly $200,000 in contributions given by the church.
V-ROC (volunteersrock.org) assisted 256 families to repair their homes damaged by the March 2 tornado and have been at work since March. More than 9,600 volunteers from across the U.S. worked with V-ROC and spent more than 112,600 hours on projects. The value of in-kind services totaled more than 2.2 million.
The Guernsey and Nasby homes in Henryville.
VIM coordinator Beth McDaniel congratulated Vicky Guernsey on her new home following its dedication.
Melissa & Anthony Nasby pause in the kitchen of their new home in Henryville following its dedication.
Bishop Mike Coyner receives a plaque as a symbol of thanks to the Indiana Conference UMC from Habitat’s Gina Leckron.