PARKERSBURG - A family of six will soon be settled into their new home after more than a year of hard work following Saturday's dedication of the 62nd home built by Wood County Habitat for Humanity.
"We have lived in lower income apartments and this house is ours," said new homeowner Larry Richards. "Crazy as it is, this house is ours."
Richards, along with his wife Cassie and their four children, Anna, 11, Allie, 8, and twins Nate and Michelle, 3, are hoping to be moved into the house at 502 Lubeck Ave. by the time Wood County Schools start next week.
New homeowners Larry and Cassie Richards with their son Nate, 3, at right, receive their Bible and house keys from Carolyn Garrity, left, vice president of Wood County Habitat for Humanity, at the celebration Saturday of their new home. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"We got lucky and the kids don't have to change schools," Larry Richards said. "Moving to this house has taken a long time and it doesn't feel real."
Alvin Phillips, executive director of Wood County Habitat for Humanity, said the Richards home is the third to be dedicated this year by the organization.
"We are blessed to help families that really appreciate having a better place to live - a place to truly call home," Phillips said.
Both Cassie and Larry Richards have been volunteering and working for Habitat for Humanity for 14 months as their sweat equity on their home as well as others being built in Parkersburg by the organization.
"This is the seventh house we have finished and the eighth we have worked on," said Larry Richards. "We are going to continue working with them for a long while because we can."
The house was partially built by students at the Washington County Career Center and moved to the site in south Parkersburg in two parts this spring.
"This house was supposed to be the 60th finished and because of issues was put back by two other homes," Phillips said. "Both Larry and Cassie were wonderful about waiting and have even helped the other new homeowners celebrate their housewarmings."
Phillips also said Wood County Habitat has completed a dozen homes in less than two years with the aid of the community.
"We have got a great community that is supportive and very giving," he continued.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that builds or renovates homes with lower-income families who are currently living in substandard housing. After being approved, a family works "sweat equity" hours for months, helping with other homes, at the Habitat office and in other ways.