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Martinsburg woman says habitat home 'will provide a better life'

February 06, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Bruce Sperow, project manager on the Habitat for Humanity home built for the Carr family in Martinsburg, W.Va., offers congratulations and the keys on Wednesday. The family is, from left, Cierra Carr, 14, Wendell Carr his wife Tara Carr, and Devon Carr, 12.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Carr family — Wendell, Tara and their children — passed a most-important milestone Wednesday when they were handed the keys to their first home.

Their new three-bedroom house is the second one built by Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle in its Auburndale Subdivision off Boston Street.

The Carr’s house stands out because it has solar panels on the roof.

The family, which put in hours of sweat equity into the house, has been living in a trailer, Tara Carr said.

“We’re going to start moving furniture in here next week,” she said.

“It’s been a long trip,” she told a group of Habitat officials and volunteers Wednesday afternoon when she was handed the keys to the house by Bruce Sperow, project manager.

“This house will provide a better life for my children,” she said, holding back tears. “We wouldn’t be here without you.”

She cut the ribbon and invited everyone to come inside and see their new home with its modern kitchen and bath, new appliances, freshly painted walls and new floors.

Devon Carr, 12, and Cierra Carr, 14, had already picked out their bedrooms.

Colin Williams is vice president of Mountain View Solar of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., the company that installed the panels on the Carr’s roof.

The panels were donated by Solar World USA with factories in Oregon and California, Williams said. His company and Solar World are partnering to install solar panels on 10 Habitat-built homes across West Virginia, he said.

Williams’ company installed the solar panels on the new Morgan County Courthouse and more than 1,600 panels on American Public University’s new Finance Center building in Charles Town, W.Va. Williams said the APU array is the largest in West Virginia.

He said the solar panels that were installed on the Carr’s roof before Thanksgiving had already produced 400 kilowatts of electricity. In a year’s time they will produce about 3,000 kilowatts, saving the family about $300, he said.

“Solar energy will make habitat houses more affordable to live in,” Williams said.

Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle bought the six acres it calls Auburndale Subdivision. Plans call for 32 units to be built on the site. Nine lots are construction ready.

The Carr’s home is the second one built.

Stakes on the lot next door outline the footprint of the next house. Plans call for its foundation to be ready April 13. Construction will begin May 13 and the house will be ready to move in five days later, Habitat officials said.

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