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For The Lancaster News
Jasmine Stover celebrated Christmas in her very own home this year.
It was a red-letter day, not only for her, but for all of Lancaster County.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of a host of people here, as well as “sweat equity” from Stover, her family and friends, she officially became the 12th Habitat homeowner partner in Lancaster County on Dec. 18, with a dedication for her home on North Penny Street, Lancaster, and a blessing for her and her family.
Attended by city and county officials, supporters and volunteers, the ceremony began with a welcome from Habitat for Humanity of Lancaster County Executive Director Nita Brown.
Board President Pamela Giardiello officially thanked and recognized some of the groups and individuals who helped transform this house to a home. She emphasized that every contribution, whether financial or volunteer skill, was valued and appreciated.
Wells Fargo donated the house in late 2010, and later followed up with a grant to help with renovation costs. The city of Lancaster supported with help for utilities and services. Covenant Baptist Church provided several volunteer teams during renovation.
Special recognition was given to the Sun City Carolina Lakes Habitat Friends Club, which helped raise additional funding and provided regular teams of volunteers from beginning to completion.
Giardiello presented Habitat’s Volunteer of the Year Award to Jim Price, the Friends Club’s vice president. He acted as the house’s project manager, coordinating volunteer teams and assisting in scheduling work, material procurement and delivery. Many times, he spent extra time working at the house alone when others were unable to come.
Jessie Shannon, Family Selection and Support Committee chair, introduced Stover to the crowd, officially presented her with keys to the house, and invited her to speak.
Stover thanked everyone for helping make her dream of homeownership come true.
In the Habitat tradition, the Rev. Otis Lathan, board treasurer, presented Stover with a Bible. Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw presented a poinsettia housewarming gift, a season-appropriate substitute for the red rose symbol of the city. Lathan offered a closing prayer, and attendees were invited for a tour and refreshments.
Stover closed on the home Dec. 12, and was allowed to move in before the dedication, since the date was so close to Christmas.