‘Home’ for Christmas


Habitat family begin new traditions

By Patricia Ann Speelman - pspeelman@aimmediamidwest.com



Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties constructed this Jackson Center home as its first Shelby County project since the two county organizations merged in 2015.

Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties constructed this Jackson Center home as its first Shelby County project since the two county organizations merged in 2015.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Workers unload cinder blocks in preparation for the build, April 2017.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Bright chairs on the porch await volunteer workers who are ready for a break.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

A contractor smooths concrete just after pouring the driveway in July.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

A stone slinger operator spreads gravel for the concrete slab.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Soon-to-be homeowner Kara Mullen wears a mask to put in some Habitat “sweat equity” during the build.


Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Bobby Howard, left, and Sam Greve take a break from their Airstream jobs to install kitchen cabinets in June.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Moving day in August. Jaden Rice, left, and his mom, Kara Mullen, take in the sofa.


Amy Chupp | Sidney Daily News

Up go the walls, thanks to a crew of Airstream employees.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Airstream associates Kyle Brown, left, and Joey Marlow nail in the roof.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Sailor Mullen looks to the future through a newly-installed window in what will become her home.


Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Kara Mullen and her children, with dozens of well-wishers, lay hands on the new house and each other to bless it during the Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony in August.


Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Sailor Mullen, 2, (left to right) in the arms of her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, their mother, Kara Mullen, and their sister, Delaney Rice, 12, break ground for their Habitat for Humanity house in Jackson Center in April.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Shawn Settler and Fred Courtney, both Airstream employees, install siding.


Amy Chupp | Sidney Daily News

Amy Shaner, an Airstream employee, paints woodwork in the hallway in June.


Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: There are two days until Christmas. Delaney Rice, 12, left to right, her mother, Kara Mullen, her sister, Sailor Mullen, 2, and her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, decorate the tree as they celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. The house was the first project in Shelby County by Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties. Groundbreaking was in April and the Mullen/Rice family moved in in August. For a photo essay of the build, see Page 12.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

JACKSON CENTER — Kara Mullen and her family, of Jackson Center, have done something for Christmas that they’ve never been able to do before: they put up decorations on their front porch.

Mullen and her children, Jaden Rice, 15, Delaney Rice, 12, and Sailor Mullen, 2, didn’t have a front porch until they moved into a house built by Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties in August. They had been living in an apartment in Sidney. Their house was the first Habitat project in Shelby County since the Miami and Shelby County organizations merged two years ago.

“We got to put lights up. We’ve never had outdoor lights,” Mullen said. “We decorated the porch.”

The family decorated their Christmas tree really early because the children were excited.

The new house has inspired the start of new traditions for them.

“The kids want a memory tree. We went shopping and everyone picked one ornament that described their year. I got a house,” Mullen said with a big smile. “This time last year, I was just finding out that I was getting the (Habitat) house. It still makes me emotional.”

Jaden, on the soccer team at Fairlawn High School, selected a soccer ball ornament. Cheerleader Delaney chose a tiny megaphone and Sailor picked out a cookie.

“We wrote the year on them all. We decided we’re going to start collecting memories,” Mullen said. The family also talked about how they want to celebrate Christmas. They’re a group who make decisions together. Gift-opening will be at Mullen’s brother’s house this year. The siblings take turns hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and 2017 was a Thanksgiving year for Mullen.

“My sister-in-law had not seen the house. Everybody got to see the house,” she said.

But what to do for Christmas?

“Our Christmas Eve tradition will be to make homemade cookies for Santa, get a Christmas movie and do the pajama thing and wait for Santa,” Mullen said.

When the jolly old elf arrives, he will visit a house built in record time, thanks to financial and volunteer support by Airstream Inc., Hoying and Hoying Builders Inc. and some 45 other area businesses. Major funding, besides the $80,000 Airstream contribution, came from C.H.I.P. Shelby County and Bill and Sandy Johnjulio-Alumapalooza. Construction began in May and what usually takes about 18 months to complete was done in four.

“It felt like home pretty quick. I think we put so much love and so much work into it, it felt like home pretty quick,” Mullen said. The 1,320-square-foot, four-bedroom home has two bathrooms and a one-car garage.

Its size is one of the things Delaney likes best about her new home. It’s a little smaller than the two-story apartment was.

“It’s easier for me to get to the kitchen,” she laughed.

“It feels a little homier,” Mullen said. Delaney also appreciates how quiet the house is.

Jaden enjoys shooting hoops in the driveway every evening. And Sailor is quickly growing from baby to toddler in what she’ll always think of as home.

“She went from sharing a bedroom with me to her own room. She’s potty trained. It’s been leaps and bounds,” Mullen said.

The family were surprised by how quickly the village of Jackson Center welcomed them as residents.

“It’s brought back a sense of community we didn’t have in Sidney because Sidney is bigger,” Mullen said. “I’ve got great neighbors.”

And, according to Jaden, those neighbors have great holiday lights.

“It’s a Christmas light war,” Mullen admitted as she looked toward future holidays in her family’s very own home. “We’ll join in next year,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties constructed this Jackson Center home as its first Shelby County project since the two county organizations merged in 2015.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_SDN122217House.jpgHabitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties constructed this Jackson Center home as its first Shelby County project since the two county organizations merged in 2015. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Workers unload cinder blocks in preparation for the build, April 2017.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_cement-blocks2.jpgWorkers unload cinder blocks in preparation for the build, April 2017. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Bright chairs on the porch await volunteer workers who are ready for a break.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_chairs-on-porch2.jpgBright chairs on the porch await volunteer workers who are ready for a break. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

A contractor smooths concrete just after pouring the driveway in July.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_driveway2.jpgA contractor smooths concrete just after pouring the driveway in July. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

A stone slinger operator spreads gravel for the concrete slab.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_Foundation2.jpgA stone slinger operator spreads gravel for the concrete slab. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Soon-to-be homeowner Kara Mullen wears a mask to put in some Habitat “sweat equity” during the build.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_Kara-in-mask2.jpgSoon-to-be homeowner Kara Mullen wears a mask to put in some Habitat “sweat equity” during the build. Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Bobby Howard, left, and Sam Greve take a break from their Airstream jobs to install kitchen cabinets in June.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_kitchen2.jpgBobby Howard, left, and Sam Greve take a break from their Airstream jobs to install kitchen cabinets in June. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Moving day in August. Jaden Rice, left, and his mom, Kara Mullen, take in the sofa.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_Moving-in2.jpgMoving day in August. Jaden Rice, left, and his mom, Kara Mullen, take in the sofa. Amy Chupp | Sidney Daily News

Up go the walls, thanks to a crew of Airstream employees.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_putting-up-wall2.jpgUp go the walls, thanks to a crew of Airstream employees. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Airstream associates Kyle Brown, left, and Joey Marlow nail in the roof.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_roof-work2.jpgAirstream associates Kyle Brown, left, and Joey Marlow nail in the roof. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

Sailor Mullen looks to the future through a newly-installed window in what will become her home.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_Sailor-at-window2.jpgSailor Mullen looks to the future through a newly-installed window in what will become her home. Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Kara Mullen and her children, with dozens of well-wishers, lay hands on the new house and each other to bless it during the Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony in August.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_SDN081017HouseBless-1.jpgKara Mullen and her children, with dozens of well-wishers, lay hands on the new house and each other to bless it during the Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony in August. Photo courtesy of Kara Mullen

Sailor Mullen, 2, (left to right) in the arms of her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, their mother, Kara Mullen, and their sister, Delaney Rice, 12, break ground for their Habitat for Humanity house in Jackson Center in April.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_GroundBreak2.jpgSailor Mullen, 2, (left to right) in the arms of her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, their mother, Kara Mullen, and their sister, Delaney Rice, 12, break ground for their Habitat for Humanity house in Jackson Center in April. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Shawn Settler and Fred Courtney, both Airstream employees, install siding.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_scaffolding-5-19.jpgShawn Settler and Fred Courtney, both Airstream employees, install siding. Amy Chupp | Sidney Daily News

Amy Shaner, an Airstream employee, paints woodwork in the hallway in June.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_working-on-floor2.jpgAmy Shaner, an Airstream employee, paints woodwork in the hallway in June. Photo courtesy of Airstream Inc.

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: There are two days until Christmas. Delaney Rice, 12, left to right, her mother, Kara Mullen, her sister, Sailor Mullen, 2, and her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, decorate the tree as they celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. The house was the first project in Shelby County by Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties. Groundbreaking was in April and the Mullen/Rice family moved in in August. For a photo essay of the build, see Page 12.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/12/web1_NewHome.jpgCOUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: There are two days until Christmas. Delaney Rice, 12, left to right, her mother, Kara Mullen, her sister, Sailor Mullen, 2, and her brother, Jaden Rice, 15, decorate the tree as they celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. The house was the first project in Shelby County by Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties. Groundbreaking was in April and the Mullen/Rice family moved in in August. For a photo essay of the build, see Page 12. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Habitat family begin new traditions

By Patricia Ann Speelman

pspeelman@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

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