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Home Sweet Home

Sherry Williams, right, accepts the keys to her new home built in Hartselle by Habitat for Humanity from Gene Moore, facility manager at Bunge. Bunge was one of the main sponsors of this home. | Brent Maze

Sherry Williams’ dream was to own a home by the age of 35.

She not only met that goal, but beat it by three years.

“It’s just such a blessing to have a place to call ‘home,’” Williams said as she accepted the keys to her new home built by Habitat for Humanity on Sunday.

Williams is one of two new homeowners in Habitat for Humanity’s subdivision called Phoenix Place located in Hartselle. She will be living there with her three children, Tamara Martin, Tykeem Williams and Tevin Shields.

In addition to dedicating Williams’ home, the new home of J.R. and Emily Loughman’s family was also dedicated on Sunday.

Emily Loughman said they’re also glad to finally have a home of their own. Since they were married, the couple has lived in apartments and with her parents before being able to have their own home.

The couple tried to buy homes on their own, but they were never able to secure the mortgage.

“We found out about Habitat through some friends,” she said. “They told us that we should apply and we were fortunate enough to be selected.”

Crowds of family members, friends and other volunteers packed into the 1,200-square-foot homes to celebrate the occasion.

To become homeowners through Habitat for Humanity, the Williams and the Loughmans had to complete a list of tasks that included community service, personal finance courses, basic house maintenance classes and even labor hours in the construction of the home.

“There are a lot of things they have to do to qualify to be a homeowner,” said Landis Griffin, resource development director for Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County. “They have to do volunteer service hours, take many classes about managing their home and finances and put some construction hours into their own home. They have to earn it.”

The Loughmans and the Williams households will not be able to move into the houses for a couple of days because the homes’ landscaping has not been completed due to the last few days of rain.

However, once they get at least four consecutive days of no rain, they can complete the landscaping and receive the certificate of occupancy from the Hartselle housing inspector.

Until then, Williams will be waiting for the day when they can move in.

“It’s home sweet home,” she said. “I just can’t wait until we get to close on it.”

Emily, Maggie and J.R. Loughman stand in front of their new home in Habitat for Humanity’s subdivision called Phoenix Place. They will move into their home once its landscaping is complete and a certificate of occupancy has been issued. | Brent Maze