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By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Kimberly Riley and her three children have a new place to call home for the holidays. On Monday, the third Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity House was dedicated at 4 p.m. At the dedication ceremony, Riley received a family bible from Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, who spoke at the service.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm so honored to be here representing MSU,‚ÄĚ Keenum said. ‚ÄúThis house is an example of how leadership and service can uplift a family, and in the process uplift an entire community.‚ÄĚ
Allan Tucker, president of the Starkville Habitat for Humanity chapter, was on hand to celebrate the house dedication.
‚ÄúThis day means a great deal to all of us who worked on the house,‚ÄĚ Tucker said. ‚ÄúThis is our 47th house, and our third Maroon Edition house, and we‚Äôre all just really glad to be here. We get to put this deserving family into a great home, and right in time for Christmas.‚ÄĚ
Program Coordinator in the office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement Meggan Franks said over 1,500 students and 15,000 hours of service have gone into working on the Maroon Edition homes.
‚ÄúEach time a student or faculty member from MSU spent their Friday or Saturday pounding nails, or putting up walls, or painting the interior of that home, they had such a positive and rewarding experience,‚ÄĚ Franks said. ‚ÄúMany of them turned right around and signed up for another day or weekend of service.‚ÄĚ
Cadence Bank, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Phillips Financial Advisory, MSU and various churches, organizations and private individuals help to fund each $60,000 house. Habitat for Humanity builds three houses locally each year, including one Maroon Edition house. The families then repay the cost of the home, which they also help in building, at no interest and no profit to the organization.
Kimberly Riley said she was very happy to have a place for her and her family to call home.
‚ÄúI just want to say thank you to everyone who helped build this house,‚ÄĚ Riley said. ‚ÄúMy family and I appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts.‚ÄĚ
Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Freddie Rasberry said the organization has already completed twelve homes in the subdivision.
‚ÄúHabitat certainly helps a family and a community,‚ÄĚ Rasberry said. ‚ÄúYou can see how it stabilizes that family, and those children, growing up in their own home will want to own their own home, and they‚Äôll need a good education and a good job to do that, and it just mushrooms.‚ÄĚ
Rasberry said the family is not the only beneficiary in the experience, however.
‚ÄúWe also do something else that we‚Äôre very excited about with these students who volunteer to work on these homes, and that is to give them a new sense of confidence,‚ÄĚ Rasberry said. ‚ÄúLearning that they are able to accomplish feats that they had never tried before by helping build these houses gives them the ability to take that confidence into other areas of their lives and their education and realize that they are capable of so much more than they may realize.‚ÄĚ
For more information on Starkville‚Äôs Habitat for Humanity chapter, visit the office at 120 1/2 N. Jackson St., call 662-324-7008 or go to http://www.starkvillehabitat.com.