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Habitat house owner: 'Being here is my Christmas'

December 06, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Hunter Streets, 6, was making snowballs in his new front yard Sunday afternoon only moments after his mother received keys to their new Habitat for Humanity home.

"Being here is my Christmas," Tessa McCarney said as she thanked people while standing on her front porch at the home on Lanvale Street.

The "Lutheran House" was built by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, in connection with the Lutheran churches in Washington County.

Thrivent has worked to build homes for 2,000 families nationwide since 2005, according to its Web site. This is the first such project in Washington County, said Bob Budnicki, a Thrivent representative who spoke at the home's dedication Sunday afternoon. He described Thrivent as a fraternal benefit society.

Habitat broke ground on the home in April and it was finished in November.

McCarney approached Habitat for Humanity about a year ago, took the required budget classes, and has worked at the site of her home, as well as at other Habitat sites in the area, she said.

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She works full time at Home Depot Direct. She and her two children had been living with McCarney's parents.

Lyndell Clipp of St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church in Keedysville helped install the porch railing and helped build a shed behind the house.

He presented the keys to McCarney during the most tearful moment of Sunday's dedication.

Moments later, Hunter was holding the keys to their house when asked what he was most excited about.

"The rooms," said Hunter, who will have his own bedroom at the new house.

He proceeded to play with the black mailbox near the front door while his sister climbed on the porch railing.

His sister, 8-year-old Sherissa Kline, is excited about "getting to have my friends come," she said.

Both children attend Salem Avenue Elementary School.

Their mother accepted hugs from well-wishers during the reception that followed the dedication.

"This is going to change me a whole lot," she said. "We want to be on our own."

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