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First Habitat home here dedicated

First Habitat home here dedicated
First Habitat home here dedicated
James Sullivan, left, and his daughter, Chelsea, are honored Saturday afternoon at the dedication of the first Habitat for Humanity house in Harrison County. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

A roomful of giggling girls crowded into Chelsea Sullivan’s bedroom Saturday afternoon. Besides the normal pre-teen talk, they admired the 10-year-old’s new bedroom, which is painted a light shade of Chelsea’s favorite color: purple.
Chelsea and her father, James Sullivan, recently moved into their home ‘ Harrison County’s first Habitat for Humanity house, located off Oliver Street in south Corydon.
‘We are here today to bless and dedicate this house … ‘ said the Rev. Scott Hill during a brief dedication ceremony. Hill is pastor at Corydon Presbyterian Church where the Sullivans attend.
‘The home was the first institution God established,’ Hill said. ‘It is God’s gift to the family and to society. It is the privilege and duty of every family to dedicate their home to God, their creator, redeemer and sustainer. Jamie and Chelsea are to be commended for thus honoring God.’
During the dedication program, several groups presented gifts to the Sullivans. They were the Habitat board of directors, Corydon Presbyterian Church, the Girl Scouts and Vacation Bible School from three Corydon churches.
As people entered the single-story house they removed their shoes so they wouldn’t track snow in on the beige carpet.
Ground was broken for the 1,028-square-foot house in July. Many volunteer hours were given to build the three-bedroom house that also has a full basement.
Bill Harrod, president of the Harrison County Habitat board, said when he first learned of local hopes for building a Habitat house, he thought it was a ‘crazy’ idea and he didn’t want to get involved.
However, he changed his mind. ‘You do get attached to it,’ he said.
The generosity of volunteers and merchants stepped up to help the first house became a reality. The Harrison County Community Foundation provided $30,000 for the house and has allocated another $30,000 for the second house that will be built this year.
Generally, it takes the construction of 10 Habitat houses before the affiliate organization becomes self-sustaining.
Habitat for Humanity, a not-for-profit, ecumenical Christian organization, was founded in 1976 and is dedicated to helping build affordable ($60,000 to $90,000) homes. Habitat has built or rehabilitated more than 85,000 homes in the United States and 60 other countries.
The Harrison County affiliate was approved in September 2000.
Applicants for a Habitat house must meet three requirements: Have a need for decent housing; have the ability to repay a no-interest loan, and have a willingness to become a partner in the Habitat program.
Sullivan provided many hours of ‘sweat equity,’ which included the hot job of mowing the lot where his house is now built.
A family selection committee then reviews the applications, which are available at Harrison County Community Services in Corydon.
Jody Pinnick of Corydon was recently selected as the next Habitat homeowner. She and her two children, Shawn, 9, and Josy, 1, will live in the house that will be built on the east side of the Sullivan dwelling. A ground-breaking ceremony for that house is expected to take place in early April.
Pinnick, 26, who returned to her Harrison County roots about seven years ago, works at Cracker Barrel in Corydon and is a nursing student at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany.
Finding ‘affordable’ lots for Habitat houses is ‘very challenging,’ Harrod said.