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Ground broken on Thrivent Habitat house

April 04, 2009

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Groundbreaking for the first Thrivent Builds Habitat for Humanity home was Saturday at 11 a.m. in the 1000 block of Lanvale Street.

"I am thrilled and grateful that Thrivent and the local Lutheran community is so supportive of Habitat for Humanity's mission and have this strong a desire to put their faith into action to help change the lives of families," said Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County has built 28 houses. The Thrivent home is one of four new houses in various phases ranging from building permits to fundraising for materials.

Cooper said the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans-sponsored house is one for which building permits have been applied for and construction is scheduled to begin the end of this month.

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She pointed out this is the second house being built by the local Lutheran churches, but the first one financially sponsored by Thrivent.

The location is approximate since the lot doesn't have an official address yet, Cooper said. It is the third lot to the right of last year's Faith House at 1024 Lanvale St.

The Rev. Ed Heim of St. John's Lutheran Church was master of ceremonies. Guest speakers included the Rev. Gerry Johnson, dean of the ELCA Lutheran churches; the Rev. James Murr, Jr. on behalf of the Lutheran Missouri Synod; and representatives of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County.

The Thrivent Builds house will be the home of Tessa McCarney and her children, Sherissa, 7, and Hunter, 5. A native of Hagerstown, McCarney is employed by the Home Depot Direct warehouse facility but dreams of going back to school one day.

As a single mom, she has raised her children in apartments around Hagerstown. Currently, she is living with her parents and has been saving for a home a little at a time.

"I always felt like I should put some ground under my feet, and have my own space and stop relying on others," McCarney said.

Building the house is made possible through a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a national nonprofit financial services organization, and through the local Lutheran community.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has committed $75,962 to the project, which includes land and a 10 percent tithe back to Habitat for Humanity International to build homes in developing nations.

The Lutheran churches of Washington County have committed to raising $11,687 in funds and materials for the project, and providing at least 50 percent of the labor to build the house.

In 2001, local Lutheran churches raised nearly all the funds and put almost all the labor into building the Lutheran House on Fridinger Avenue.

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