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Surprise homecoming: Community joins together for wall raising for local family 

Keunna and Brandon Swopes have been keeping the secret of a lifetime for two years from their four children. Their new home, built by Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County, is the organization’s 94th build and the 22nd in Hartselle.  

Members of the community joined Habitat volunteers and staff to kick off construction Oct. 4 with a wall raising. 

Keunna and Brandon have donned hardhats and rubber boots and picked up hammers and electric drills to take part in building their future home. So far, they have put nearly 300 hours into a house that will tentatively be finished Dec. 18.  

“This is all a prayer that has been three years in the making,” Keunna said. “God has worked, and we are so thankful for everyone who is here for us.  

“As it says on our porch, God has chosen us to build a sanctuary for Him. We believe nothing is impossible with God,” the soon-to-be mother-of-five added.  

Dewayne Eddy, who serves as the chairman of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County, said Habitat houses have been built with as few as 12 people and as many as 400.  

“We want the volunteers and the help, but we do have a core group of guys here who do a fabulous job,” Eddy explained. “These guys enjoy what they do.”   

Eddy said it takes about 1,000 man-hours to complete a Habitat home – typically a 1,200-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The Swopes house will feature 4 bedrooms.  

Prior to the wall raising, organizers passed out Sharpies so attendees could write messages on the wall studs. Keunna and Brandon chose to write scriptures on their door frames, focusing on passages like the one set in the concrete of the porch that says “Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 

A dedication of the home will be held once it is completed. The Swopes family asked attendees to help keep the secret from their children until that time.  

The sponsors of the new home for the Swopes family are PNC Bank, Nucor Tubular Products Trinity, 3M Foundation, BBVA, Allstate, Daystar Church and Boeing.