Habitat to dedicate Patriot Build house

DANVILLE — This is the house that Habitat for Humanity of Danville built.

And owner Kimberly Bryant, her friends and family, Illinois National Guard soldiers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, students and contractors as well as numerous local organizations and individuals.

Habitat officials will dedicate the house at 1109 N. Robinson St., known as the Patriot Build, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15. The dedication ceremony is open to the public.

They also will turn the keys over to a very eager Bryant and her two sons — Spurgeon and Trenton Barber.

"We're so excited to move in," said Bryant, who predicted she will cry "happy" tears at the dedication. "We'll finally have a place to call our own."

The Patriot Build is the local chapter's 50th project in the Danville area.

It is a unique project in that it was funded by $1,000 donations from about 40 organizations and individuals in the community instead of one or two churches, groups or businesses.

It also brought together more than 100 volunteers — many of them soldiers and first responders — to build the shell of the house last year on Patriot Day, also known as the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.

"Because it was 9/11, and we brought in so many volunteers for the blitz build who had never been involved before, it was really special," board President Erich Hannah said. He added that Bryant, whose rental home has mold issues, will be a good homeowner.

Habitat volunteers poured the house's foundation, laid concrete block and built a sub-floor to prepare for the blitz build. Then three crews of volunteers worked in three-hour shifts putting up walls and roof trusses, sheeting the roof and walls and installing windows and doors — work that typically would have taken three to four weeks to complete.

This spring, Habitat's core group of volunteers sided and roofed the house, built a porch and did all of the interior work.

Bryant, a phlebotomist at Carle, was involved in putting up the walls, painting the walls, staining cabinets with her mentor — Wilma Hannah, Erich's mother — and cleaning, among other things.

"I've learned so much about what all goes into building a house," said Bryant, who put in more than her required 300 hours of "sweat equity" by working at the site and working the Habitat ReStore shop, which funds home-building projects.

Bryant's one-story, ranch-style house — which is valued around $70,000, but cost only $55,000 to build because of the volunteer labor — has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Like other Habitat homeowners, Bryant will have a 20-year no-interest mortgage.

"My boys are so excited to get their own room," she said, adding the two have always had to share before.

Lately, Bryant has been busy decorating her new home with the help of her sister and packing. She and her sons plan to move in as soon as possible.

She also has been writing a lot of thank-you cards.

"I've tried to send them to everyone who was involved — the Habitat volunteers, the plumbers, the power people, the people who put in the countertops," Bryant said with a laugh. "It's just amazing to think of all of the people who came out and helped me build it so that I could become a first-time homeowner. I'm just so grateful to them."

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