The builders called a brief halt to the blitz build so that Habitat representatives could dedicate two recently-completed homes. The families of Deb Ward and Tony Distel, 255 Third Ave., and Tiffanie Loesser, 263 Third Ave., were on hand for the ceremony.
Glenn Ritzenthaler, a longtime Habitat volunteer who worked on the two homes, also came for the dedications. Although some health issues have forced him to become a spectator, he did not want to miss out on the flurry of activity.
"I wish I was over there with the crew, but I've put in 26 years with Habitat," Ritzenthaler said. "This is a great day for Tiffin. I'm glad I could witness this."
PHOTO BY MIKE MASELLA
Workers take a break from Saturday’s Extreme Build for Habitat for Humanity to dedicate two recently completed Habitat homes.
Tom Huss and Wilma Farmer led the consecration and dedication of the two homes. Georgia Reed and Lynn Cartwright presented bibles and housewarming baskets to the two new homeowners. Ruth Metcalf gave a scripture reading from the Sermon on the Mount.
In a reflection from Don Loving, he reminded the crowd that Habitat involves people of all faiths and adheres to a tradition of helping others. The goal of the organization is to build good quality houses for people who might not otherwise be able to own a home. Habitat homeowners also receive support as they become part of a larger community.
"Today we're celebrating ... In addition to the dedications, we've got a mortgage to burn today. One of our families has completely paid off their home and it's theirs, free and clear. And of course across the street ... it's exciting to see this house going up," Loving said.
Then it was time for Ruth and Bobby Metcalf to burn the mortgage on their Habitat home. Ruth presented a framed photo from the day of their closing to Seneca Habitat President, Wayne Kromer, who praised the couple.
"These two have been our shining star family. They're still working, helping other people build their homes, getting us meals on Saturdays. They've just been the epitome of a Habitat family, and we're just thrilled to have them, and thrilled to see them owning their home. That's what we do this for," Kromer said.
Habitat director, Joe Swora, held up the 16-year mortgage dated July 23, 1996, and invited Bobby to ignite the papers. Cheers from the crowd went up with the smoke.
Deb Ward and Tony Distel settled into a shady spot on their porch to watch the building across the street. It brought back memories of seeing their own home being constructed. Ward said they had taken occupancy in November 2011.
"It was exciting. It was just unbelievable. Every day, something was different. Watching people work together was great," she said. "We had our first Christmas here."
Distel said they have enjoyed meeting their new neighbors, owning their first home and working with Habitat volunteers. He expressed amazement that the builders do everything for free.
"Especially that gentleman right there," Distel said, gesturing to Ritzenthaler. "We loved working with him ... Him and I worked great together."