Delaware County Habitat for Humanity thanked its supporters at a 25th anniversary celebration last week at Ohio Wesleyan University.
OWU chaplain and founding board member Jon Powers held up a hammer, saying it was the first hammer used by the affiliate, to remove nails on a rebuild.He spoke of Habitat founder Millard Fuller’s concept of the “theology of a hammer.”
Among Powers’ most powerful memories in his time with Habitat is seeing a Jew, a Muslim and Christian — “close enough they could touch” — hammering together on a roof.
“That, to me, is the theology of a hammer,” Powers said at Friday’s celebration.
Founding board member Roger VanSickle read a letter congratulating the Delaware County affiliate from former President and active Habitat for Humanity volunteer Jimmy Carter. He recalled former first lady Rosalynn Carter’s comment about volunteering despite a lack of construction experience: “If I can do it, you can do it.”
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan spoke of the difference home ownership makes in a community. He said there were statistics which show that children who live in homes are more likely to graduate high school and go to college, less likely to get in trouble and more likely to own a home of their own.
Homan spoke of a 2012 build where Habitat teamed up with a fellow non-profit organization Family Promise to rebuild a house for the homeless on Winter Street.
“I drive by that with pride,” he said.
Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle sang a verse of “If I Had a Hammer” and issued a proclamation in recognition of Habitat’s anniversary.
Timya Stephens, who called herself “homeowner number 24,” said she and her children have lived in their Carlisle Avenue house for 11 years.
“We love our home,” Stephens said, and after hearing her story, hundreds of people attending the celebration in the Hamilton-Williams Center gave her a standing ovation.
“We have completed 53 homes in 25 years,” said executive director Todd Miller. “There are two current builds, and two more yet this year. We’ll start on home number 56 at the end of July.”
Miller said Habitat’s home improvement ReStore on Curtis Street has generated nearly $3 million in revenue since it opened in 2004. The local affiliate has also tithed $145,000 to Habitat for Humanity International.
He thanked the Habitat volunteers, who “pick us up and carry us over the finish line” whenever needed.
“We use Christian principles, seeking God’s guidance on all things, to serve people of all faiths and no faith in Delaware County, using Habitat for Humanity as a tool,” he said.
For more information, visit www.habitatdelawareco.org or call 740-363-9950.Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.