By MATT CRANE
For Daphne Walton and her family, dreams are coming true.
Habitat for Humanity members, Mississippi State University officials and family and friends of the Waltons gathered Tuesday at 276 Steadman Lane to dedicate the fourth Maroon Edition home and 50th Starkville area Habitat home.
Walton, along with her children Ian, Caleb, Hanna, Seth and Chloe, said the feeling of being a new homeowner was indescribable.
“I keep saying it’s just a dream come true,” she said. “It represents a foundation and a security for the future.”
Walton said she hopes her new home will instill a sense of drive and perseverance in her children.
“Hopefully seeing this come about, the kids will see there is no limit to your dreams,” she said. “If the dream is there, you have to believe it.”
The dedication program featured many key players in the home’s development, including Meggan Franks of the MSU Maroon Volunteer Center, who said over 500 students, faculty and staff helped construct the home.
“Seeing people giving up their Saturdays for a greater cause reminds me of the sense of community we have,” she said. “It makes me proud to be a part of this university.”
During the ceremony, Franks presented a quilt made from the T-shirts of volunteers along with Starkville area Habitat for Humanity President Janice Muzzi presenting the traditional homeowners wreath made by Tammy Haynes.
Representing sponsor Cadence Bank, Carey Edwards said he and the bank are proud to stand behind the mission Habitat for Humanity sets forth.
“Habitat is such a great ministry in Starkville,” he said. “We are a better and stronger community because of Habitat.”
Along with Cadence Bank, the Habitat for Humanity covenant partners include First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, MSU and Phillips Financial Advisory Inc.
MSU President Mark Keenum who drove the first nail into the home in August, presented the Waltons with a homeowner Bible and said he was privileged not only to attend the ceremony, but also continue to offer MSU students the opportunity to serve those in need.
“This is my favorite part of the whole project,” he said. “For those who participate, this is a wonderful service project to be a part of something special.”
Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Freddie Rasberry said he believes in the work the organization continues to do and is excited for the opportunities a new home will afford the Waltons.
“Our goal is to select families like this one and give them a hand up,” he said. “It’s not just about housing, it’s about helping people help themselves.”
Rasberry said he is thankful for the many volunteers who dedicate over 2,000 hours for every Habitat home, as well as the sponsors and donors who make Habitat’s mission possible.
“As people see the legitimacy of the ministry, everyone wants to donate,” he said. “We just tell the family’s story, and the individuals choose to do good things.”
For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit http://www.starkvillehabitat.com