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Woman comes home for the holidays

December 08, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

As part of the dedication of her home Sunday, new home owner Cherry Hiser was given a timely, appropriate house gift: A Christmas tree.

"In this holiday season, you need to start your home out with a Christmas tree," Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, told Hiser.

Hiser, 34, also was given a Bible, a home reference book and a tool box during the Habitat for Humanity house dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon at her home on Mitchell Avenue.

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"I don't know what else to say besides thank you all," Hiser said.

She even apologized at one point, saying, "You have got to excuse me - I'm getting all emotional here."

She has wanted to have her own house at least since her daughter, Erica, 11, was born, Hiser said.

She turned in her application about two years ago, and since then she has impressed many Habitat volunteers and officials with her drive, attitude and story, Cooper said.

For example, Hiser put in more than the 500 hours of sweat equity as she helped with every facet of construction of her home, Cooper said.

"We know who you are and we hold you in high regard. It is not just faint praise - it is the truth," Dick Kidd, a Habitat for Humanity board member, told Hiser during the ceremony.

Hiser was working three part-time jobs, none of which provided medical benefits to her or her daughter, who has asthma, Cooper said. Due to back problems, she no longer could do the heavy lifting required at some past full-time jobs, she said.

A volunteer who worked at Teleflex Morse Motions Systems was so impressed by her that he helped her get a full-time job at the company, Cooper said. She now does assembly work for Teleflex, Hiser said.

She did all of that while working on assembling her new house.

After the ceremony, between getting hugs and congratulations from volunteers and friends, Hiser kept repeating, "This is exciting. It is overwhelming," she said.

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