PARKERSBURG - Wood County Habitat for Humanity broke ground Sunday afternoon on its 64th house in Wood County.
Wood County Habitat executive director Alvin Phillips said he started working as a volunteer with the agency in 1990 and was later given the chance to take a full-time employment job with Habitat.
Phillips, originally from southern West Virginia, moved to the area right after college and made a career as a teacher. He said the homes built by Habitat are meant for families who have a goal to get out of their current housing situation.
Crystal Nottingham, left, her son, Sam, middle, and secretary of the board for Wood County Habitat for Humanity Carolyn Garrity break ground for a new home as Alvin Phillips, director of Wood County Habitat for Humanity, cheers. (Photo by Mandi Cardosi)
Friends and family gather dirt under the direction of the Rev. Rich McClure to “bless the holy ground” for the 64th habitat home in Wood County, located on Ridgeway Avenue in south Parkersburg. (Photo by Mandi Cardosi)
Sam Nottingham, right, follows a balloon he launched in memory of his father, who died about two years ago when he was just shy of 2 years old. (Photo by Mandi Cardosi)
"There has to be a need (for families) to get out of (their) current housing," he said. "We're hoping to get (the family) under roof before bad weather hits."
Phillips said the finishing touches on the 63rd Habitat house, located on 15th Avenue in south Parkersburg, should be made in the next three weeks. There is a family selection committee to determine who can be eligible for the housing benefits, he said.
The Rev. Rich McClure, of First Baptist Church in Parkersburg, blessed the site's "holy ground" by telling a biblical story and saying a prayer with guests during Sunday's ceremony.
New homeowner the Nottingham family were eager and excited to begin helping with work on their new gift.
"It's wonderful," said Crystal Nottingham. "He (her son Sam) actually picked out this property."
Sam Nottingham was able to honor his late father by launching balloons on the property in his memory.
"Sam wanted to launch these balloons so his dad would know where we live now," his mother said. "He's always wanted a blue house with a tree house."
Nottingham said she was excited when she learned her 4-year-old son would be able to get his dream home with blue siding. She said he woke up one morning and told her his father told him in a dream, that when the family got their blue house he would get his tree house out back.
"Any Habitat house I'd seen didn't have trees," she said when she thought her son would not be able to have one. "But then they showed us this piece of property with the trees out back."
Nottingham said she is 40 years old and has never been able to say she has owned her own home. She is touched and excited to begin the adventure of owning her own piece of property and having the help of building a home on it.
"This is our property," she said of the site of the family's future house.