Habitat for Humanity builds first veteran home

PHOTO BY SETH WEBER Floyd Keck watches as volunteers and Clouse Construction employees work on his future Habitat for Humanity home on Third Avenue Saturday.

After his home was foreclosed on a year-and-a-half ago, Floyd Keck’s life began to spin out of control. But he now is finding solid ground after working with Habitat for Humanity to own a new two-bedroom home.

Keck is a disabled veteran who served during the Gulf War in the 1st Infantry Division, known colloquially as The Big Red One. He was medically discharged in 1996 after serving for eight years.

After his home in Fremont was foreclosed, he stayed in the house although he no longer owned it.

“I hate to say it, but I was kind of squatting there because I had nowhere else to go,” he said. “I had no choice. I wasn’t going to sleep outside.”

Keck soon was introduced to WSOS, which helped him find a rental property in Tiffin, where he could be closer to his father.

He then found Seneca County’s Habitat for Humanity. He fit all the criteria for a Habitat for Humanity home, so he applied. After he found these organizations, he said everything began to “snap into place.”

Habitat for Humanity has built more than 40 homes in Seneca County in a 30-year period, said Carol Dell, executive director of Seneca County’s Habitat for Humanity. Keck’s will be the first they’ve built for a veteran.

Dell and Keck helped out with the house Saturday morning, where the frame is being built. Dell said the plan is to “button up” the home for winter and continue work in the spring. Keck should be able to move in by fall 2017, she said.

Numerous volunteers and Clouse Construction — a local business which offered to help — have made quick work on the house, Dell said.

“Two weeks ago there was nothing but a deck on the foundation,” she said. “It’s just amazing, the progress they have made.”

The home is among dozens of others on lots bought by Habitat for Humanity on Third Avenue, said board member Wayne Kromer. There are several lots still ready to be built on, and he said about one to two families get a house each year.

Though Habitat for Humanity gives a path to home-ownership to those without conventional options, Dell said the houses aren’t simply a “hand out,” as recipients still must pay and help work on the house in any way they can, though the loan is at 0-percent interest.

Keck said he’s more than willing to do everything he can for the new home, considering all the help WSOS and Habitat for Humanity has done for him.

“Everyone’s been working so hard and working with me,” he said. “Originally when I was going through what I was going through, I was like ‘it’s just going to be another one of these programs.’ But this has been great.”