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A home for Jean

By Staff | May 17, 2011

A groundbreaking ceremony for Habitat for Humanity was held Saturday afternoon in Montgomery. L to R: Jeff LeCrone, board member, Donna Sortman, board member, Mary Shelinski, board member, Geneva Peck, board member, Pastor Gunther Bernhardt, Rev. Detlef Huckfeldt, Thrivent Lutherans, Jean Myers, new owner, Todd Fox, Habitat executive director, Earl Kinter, board member, Keith Wood, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Larry Keisner, Habitat Construction Manager. Jean Myers, homeowner, discusses plans with Habitat Construction Manager, Larry Keisner after the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

MONTGOMERY – It was meant to be, agreed all who were involved in helping Jean Myers obtain a new home in the Montgomery community. With 250 hours of sweat equity ahead of her, Jean Myers is more than grateful to help Habitat for Humanity build her a brand new home on a vacant lot owned by Christ Lutheran Church on E. Houston Ave. and deeded to the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity.

The church approached Habitat to see if they would be interested in the lot, as the congregation believed it would help to bring in new members. Partnering with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a faith-based non-profit membership organization, the home will be built based on the needs of Myers and her family.

Contributing funds, Thrivent’s mission seeks to help people improve the quality of life for its members and reduce homelessness. “It will be critical to have the cooperative support of the community for this build to be successful. Most importantly, members of the community can become involved in helping to build a home,” said Keith Wood, a financial associate for Thrivent and a board member of Habitat for Humanity. Monte Temple, President of the Church Council in Montgomery stated, “We are one member helping another.”

Todd Fox, executive director with Habitat for Humanity in Lycoming County said that this is the third home to be built by Habitat in Montgomery. Traditionally, the new homeowner is to walk from the previous location built by Habitat to the new location. Referred to as the Family Footprint Walk, the contributing members walked 5 miles from Newberry on Saturday to Riverfront Park in Loyalsock Township. From there the Herdic Trolley picked up the group and brought them to the Montgomery location at noon for a groundbreaking ceremony.

Before Thanksgiving arrives, Jean Myers will be getting a 3 bedroom ranch home, designed by Larry Keisner, construction manager for Habitat. According to Geneva Peck, board member, Habitat for Humanity does not eliminate anybody. “I am very relieved to be getting my own home,” Myers said upon relating that the entire application process took about a year. She waited almost three and a half years until she was able to get a place that matched up with her desires.

The organization is celebrating its 20th year in Lycoming County and proudly built approximately 45 homes so far, and have 2 or 3 more in the planning process according to Fox. Myers was chosen from a selection committee after she applied for a single home and specified that she wanted to move to Montgomery with her daughter and 15 month old grandchild.

“This new home will make our community shine,” said Pastor Gunther Bernhardt who held up a light bulb to explain his analogy. “The people shine who make great efforts to volunteer to build Jean’s house. May the light shine brightly,” the pastor added during a well attended ground breaking ceremony on the church’s lot that faces Penn Street. It will take close to 3,000 hours of sweat equity and several volunteers to finish the home so Jean will have a positive experience.

To learn more about acquiring a home and meeting qualifications and guidelines, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at www.lycominghabitat.org. More volunteers are needed and are encouraged to come to Montgomery to help Myers finish her home. All building supplies are provided on site, and no previous construction experience is needed.