SIDNEY — The temperatures may have been unseasonably chilly, but the warmth of feeling that permeated the air at 524 Second Avenue was as cheerful as the cloudless, sun-drenched, blue skies when Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties broke ground, Sunday, April 29, for its second build in as many years in Shelby County.
Kelly Beemer and her children, Mikayla Huckleby, 11, Kiana Huckleby, 9, and Mylah Beemer, 1, of Sidney, will help to construct and then live in the house that has been sponsored by Emerson Climate Technologies and Cargill.
Habitat Executive Director William Horstman welcomed a crowd of about 50 people to the event.
“This is a simple, but significant ceremony,” he said.
After an invocation by Pastor Fred Gillenwater of the Russell Road Church, Dr. Reece Nickol, of Troy, a member of the Habitat board of trustees, explained how the organization selects candidates for houses.
“Habitat basically does a search for three kinds of things: need, someone who can pay for that home and partner with us to get education and help with other people’s homes. We’ve found that person in Kelly,” he said. “She’ll be a shining example of what a neighborhood person should look like.”
Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann voiced gratitude on behalf of all the commissioners for Emerson and Cargill and the individuals who arranged for the build in Sidney.
“Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has been working. They can be found in approximately 1,400 communities in the United States and in 70 countries around the world,” she said. “They have helped families to build and acquire the American Dream of homeownership with the simple mission of building simple, decent, affordable housing. This is a noble cause and one that we should all support.”
Ehemann quoted the Bible, 1 Peter 4:10-11: “Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.”
“Through Habitat, we can fulfill this promise to God,” she said.
Cargill expressed interest some two years ago in assisting with a Habitat project in Sidney, according to Mickey Hamer, facility site leader.
“We’re really proud to be here today and are looking forward to being part of the whole thing,” he told the crowd, which included Cargill and Emerson employees, neighbors, Beemer family and friends and Kara Mullen, who owns the house Habitat built in Jackson Center last summer.
“We’re looking forward to getting this thing done and getting the Beemer family into their home,” Hamer said.
Ann Runner, vice president of human resources at Emerson, spoke of the long Copeland/Emerson history in Sidney and noted the large construction project going on at the Emerson plant.
“I’d like to say our building will be done when this house is done, but it won’t,” she said to the chuckles of the audience. “We’re very excited about going forward and seeing this house go up.”
Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Raible asked Emerson and Cargill employees to raise their hands and led applause for them.
“Congratulations to both the fine folks at Emerson and Cargill on your decision to partner with Habitat for Humanity to construct a new home for the Beemer family. What a very generous thing to do,” he said. He cited Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”: “There’s no place like home.”
“In life’s journey, we all have to dodge the occasional wicked witch, but it’s comforting to know that a cozy bed, loving arms and perhaps even a Munchkin or two await when we get home. Home is our sanctuary, our special place, our escape from the rest of the world. Said by another much more eloquent than I, ‘Home is that magical place where grass stains are removed from the knees of our pants, Popsicles are always in the freezer and tuna casserole actually tastes good,’” he said.
Chad Shepard, Habitat’s family services advocate, introduced the Beemer family. Kelly, Mikayla and Kiana then each grabbed a shovel and turned over dirt to start the process of construction of what will be their new home.
Paul Hoying, of Hoying and Hoying Builders and project manager of the Habitat build, named local companies whose donations of time and materials are also vital to the project. Dave Nagel Excavation will do the excavating and site work. Woehrmyer Concrete and JR Edwards will help with the foundation and flat concrete. Springcreek Concrete will supply the ready-mix concrete. Lochards Inc. will do the plumbing and HVAC work.
Also Ratermann Custom Homes, Crale Builders, Westerheide Development and Hoying and Hoying Builders will work with volunteers on framing, siding, roofing and other structural components. Piqua Lumber, Rindler Truss and Lowe’s will supply the framing materials.
“These are just a few of the many local companies that are working hard to support and improve our communities. I also want to mention that everyone and anyone is welcome to work on Kelly’s home. If you’re interested and want to help, call (Habitat at 937-332-3763),” he said. “And one last thing, if you don’t want to pound nails, please pray that the weather stays like this for the next several months. That will help as much as anything.”
After Gillenwater gave a benediction, homemade cookies and bottled water were enjoyed by the crowd.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.