Saturday, October 10, 2015

House Dedication Today

Today dawned bright and sunny, although a little chilly. By 11:00, things had warmed up enough to be comfortable as long as you were in the sun.

Friends and family gathered for the dedication of the new home built for Rachel and me by the University of Findlay chapter of Habitat for Humanity. It was an exciting day. The pep band and a couple majorettes from the University even came to be a part of the celebration.
University of Findlay leaders share a few words.
Various leaders shared with those who attended a bit of the history of this build and gave their well-wishes to Rachel and me. 

I had an opportunity to share my thanks with everyone as well. I had written out my planned remarks, even though I knew I wouldn't use the words exactly. I'll share here the planned text of my speech, so those of you who couldn't be with us at the dedication today can share in at least a part of this special day.


As we stand here today in front of this beautiful new home, we are looking at the fulfillment of a dream. Rachel and I have had this dream since late January, but the University of Findlay chapter of Habitat for Humanity have cherished their vision for over seven years. Many people have been involved in making it a reality. They have spent countless hours in planning. They have raised the finances and given of their time, sweat and enthusiasm to build this dream.

Companies, too, have made major contributions. Many thanks to State Farm for their generous grant, and to Whirlpool for the appliances. Such generosity means a great deal.

Also a than­­k you to the various contractors who gave time to do things like excavation, wiring, plumbing, hanging dry wall, laying flooring, running trusses, and heating system, laying the sidewalk and driveway.­­­­

I have so very much enjoyed getting to know the people who have had a part in building this home for us. I wish I could thank each and every one by name, but the list would be far too long.

I do want to give a big thank you to the Habitat for Humanity board for their vision to provide a hand-up to families in need. Your vision is truly life-changing.

I will always remember our meetings with the family selection committee who chose Rachel and me to be the partner family for this build. I truly believe God guided us together to begin this journey that leads, quite literally…home.

 I’d like to give a special thank you to Steve Gibbs and all the crew leaders – Dan, Marv, Tom, Randy, Mark, Denny, Steve, Gary, Bob, Doug, Ryan, Adrian, Mike, Jack, Paul, Rick, Jeff, Cory, Rich, Glenn, and Levi. They worked very hard making sure our home is strong, solid, and safe. They guided a couple hundred volunteers in this effort. They have also patiently answered my numerous questions about what things are, how they are put together, and… and… and… the list goes on. I am told that I have been the most inquisitive homeowner Steve has worked with. Well, let’s just say that my questions reflect how little I knew to begin with. Anyway, they answered each question with grace and patience, and it is much appreciated.

Many thanks to Suzie Dyer, our family advocate throughout this whole journey. She and the family advocacy committee do such wonderful work helping partner families as their home is built. Unfortunately, Suzie isn’t able to be here today, but we have had many good conversations over these last months, and she has given me a lot of guidance and advice. Not only that, she has become a friend. I look forward to continuing this friendship now that the house is complete.

The good people at the Habitat office and Restore have been a great help. Ron, Wendy, Shelly, Lisa, Jeff, Chris and others have shared our excitement and have provided answers to many more questions. I appreciate each of them.

Most especially, there is another highly dedicated group of people I would like to thank – the University of Findlay chapter of Habitat for Humanity – both original members as well as those who have led the committee since it first began. This whole endeavor started out as your dream, and for seven long years, you worked diligently until the dream became reality. Some of you graduated and moved on from the University before everything finally came together. Thank you Ingrid, Stacey, Crystal, Coyne, Rachel, Emily, Leah, Brian, Brandi, Sabrina and Mackenzie, for your diligence and perseverance.

University of Findlay students
with Rachel and me on our front porch.

Finally, a HUGE thank you to the University of Findlay students, faculty members, coaches and teams, as well as the church family from Findlay First United Brethren Church in Christ, my home church, who labored diligently to give Rachel and me a home. We have had a good time together. We have raised walls together. You have listened to my stories over dinner, and I’ve heard some of your stories. You have listened to Rachel…and listened to Rachel…and been photographed by Rachel… what more can I say except that she has grown to love many of you and, I think, many of you have grown to love her. I wish we could have met each and every one of you, but that was simply not possible. Your labor of love is much appreciated.

I do want to extend an invitation to all of you who have helped build our house to stop by for a visit. Just please not all at once, though. And…you don’t even have to wear a duct tape name tag.

May God bless all of you who have been involved in this dream in any way, even more than you have been a blessing to us. After all, it was God Himself, working through so many, Who ultimately has given us what we see here today. I trust you will all share in His blessing.

This is one of the sentiments written on the wall studs in our house.
We may never see this and other well-wishes again,
but we know they are there. We are so blessed.
Now, as we look to soon moving in to our house, my hope and prayer is that it will be a place of refuge, filled with peace and joy, and will be a blessing to everyone who comes through the door. Thank you so much for our home!

 Next time....I'll share picture of the inside....

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