Work begins on new Maroon Edition Habitat house

MSU President Mark Keenum, left, drives the first nail of the 2017 Maroon Edition House while Habitat for Humanity construction manager John Breazeale holds the board in place. The house will be built by MSU faculty, staff, students and retirees. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

For the ninth year, Mississippi State University will do a service to the Starkville community by building a house for a deserving family.

Despite foreboding clouds, ground was broken on the 2017 Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity home Friday, and MSU President Mark Keenum drove the first nail. The house will be built over the next few weeks by Mississippi State University students, staff, faculty and retirees, including primarily freshman students involved in Service Dawgs Day Monday.

“That’s what college and university is about, to not only help educate young people, but to also prepare them for their life and their future to serve and help others,” Keenum said. “I am so proud that Mississippi State University is leading that way.”

Keenum also presented a $5,000 check from MSU to Starkville Habitat for Humanity.

The home will complete the Owens Street Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood located off of Dr. Douglas L. Conner Drive.

“I’d like to thank (Starkville Habitat for Humanity Director) Joel (Downey) and everyone at Habitat for Humanity for building not only a great house, but a great neighborhood and having such a wonderful family that’s going to occupy the house, and have it as a home,” said Starkville Development Director Buddy Sanders.

The recipients of the house will be Kareema Gillon and her two children Korrine Gillion, 8, and Dorione Warren, 2.

Kareema told the SDN she applied for a Habitat for Humanity house not thinking that she would be chosen.

“Within the application you have to write an essay as far as telling about your friends, about your family, the house you live in now, and the situation you come from and also how building a Habitat home would make you feel. ” Kareema said.

After she submitted the application, Kareema had an interview with the family selection board and learned a few weeks later that she was accepted.

“It was heart-filling,” Kareema said. “I was crying. I couldn’t even hold it together.”

Kareema said she was excited for the step up living in the house would provide her children.

The Starkville Habitat for Humanity is a Christian mission that is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing through the construction of new homes, and providing no-interest mortgages to low income homeowners who are willing to work hard to make a better life for their families.