The dedication of the Greater Mount Airy Area Habitat for Humanity’s 41st home Saturday was more about building foundations for life than the tangible foundation the Cooke family’s new home was built on.
Executive Director Neil Cothren said the beautiful weather for the dedication was like the build itself, which went well from the beginning. He said the process began for the family of David and Amanda Cooke in October of 2012. He praised the family for amassing 545 sweat equity hours on their home as well as other partner families.
(By comparison, a total of 2,213 volunteer hours were used to complete the new home, which was the second modular home built in partnership with Surry County Schools and Surry Community College at North Surry.)
“A lot of folks had parts to play and pieces to put together in order for this to happen,” Cothren said as he praised the cooperation of the Habitat Board, affiliate and ReStore staffers, volunteers, Surry Community and Surry County schools.
Board of Directors member Bryant Brantley reminded those present the mission of Habitat is to build homes, communities and hope and used examples from the Bible of the importance of neighbors. He told the group one 80-year-old volunteer from the neighborhood was routinely seen 16 feet off the ground on a ladder helping with the new home.
He drew from the Gospel of Luke and how people would hear Jesus’ words and not do what he asked. Brantley reminded them the two greatest laws of God to keep were the love the Lord and to love neighbors and to answer Jesus’ call to even love one’s enemies.
“If we just look at the 10 Commandments we know we can’t keep them. Hope is in Christ,” said Brantley. “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All else is shifting sand. God’s love of us over all else, seen through Christ should make us to keep the laws and love our enemies.”
County Commissioner and Habitat board member Larry Phillips was also on hand to welcome the family to the neighborhood.
“You are now going to be a tax payer,” Phillips said. “On behalf of the Board of Commissioners we wish you God’s blessings. You ask any homeowner and they will tell you it is the values and not the valuables that matter in a home. No one has given you anything here. You have earned your home.”
Surry County Schools Director of Secondary Education Jill Reinhardt told the group she was proud to be there to represent the system and the ten young men who graduated from high school and earned credit on the house build.
“The partnership for this runs deep between Surry County Schools, Surry Community College and Habitat,” Reinhardt said. “I can’t tell you every nail those young men put into this house was put in with love but our love for them to learn was. We are proud Surry County Schools are teaching students the gift of giving back.”
She said 15 more students from across the county are ready to participate in a third home build at North Surry. Homeowner Amanda Cooke thanked the volunteers for their hard work on “the most beautiful home in Surry County.” The family was presented a family Bible and a gift basket after the handing over of the keys by Habitat Construction Manager Greg Russo.
Amanda and David Cooke have two children, 9-year-old Eli and 5-year-old Kylie. The family’s former home was an older one with electrical issues, was poorly insulated and contained mold from water leaks. The couple said it is a relief to be able to go to sleep at night now in the new home.
Reach David Broyles at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.