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First Presbyterian breaks ground for Habitat house

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:12 PM

First Presbyterian Church members celebrated their Habitat for Humanity mission Sunday with a sunny groundbreaking ceremony at 3 Fuller Drive in Norwalk.

First Presbyterian began in spring 2007 to take member pledges, and with matching funds from an anonymous church member, the money needed for the Habitat Build was raised by summer's end. Many members and supporters joined Sunday for the first breaking of ground.

Linda Francisco, First Presbyterian member and Habitat Director, greeted the crowd with, "It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you this day. Nice days like this will get this site moving." The First Presbyterian Habitat Steering Committee co-chairs Earl and Evelyn McLoney, Marge Chapin, Edith Horton, Dale Rafie and Peggy Case, were then introduced. Committee member Marsha Sands was not present. The Rev. Adrian Doll and Associate Pastor Claire Brewer of First Presbyterian were introduced.

Habitat for Humanity board members Norma Schaechterle, Earl McLoney and Donna Swackhamer, plus construction manager Tike Majoy; Bob Swackhamer, chairman of Habitat's construction committee; and Sandy Zitner, a site supervisor with the Women's Build, all attended the ceremony. Donna Swackhamer thanked all who worked to make "this dream home a reality" for the Joe and Michelle Myers family. She said, "It takes hands to build a house and hearts to build a home."

Mayor Sue Lesch, who spoke next, said, "I am so happy to be here today. We are blessed in Norwalk to have such a group of people with such vibrant leadership. In doing something so very visible for others, we recognize Christ is here today."

Francisco praised the city for having the block of land off Willard Drive available for Habitat. She introduced Joe Myers, future resident of the house, who added his family's thanks.

First Presbyterian Sunday School members Mitchell and Nancy Sommers presented a large poster welcome card from their Sunday School to the Myers family children. Since they are too little to build houses, they build friendships.

Doll then led the group in prayer as everyone joined hands, a Habitat tradition. Earl and Evelyn McLoney led the group with bow-bedecked shovels and dug in.

Habitat Workers' brown bag lunch was held Sunday after church. At tables, featuring hammers, bird houses to build and other construction whimsies, were members wearing new T-shirts with a yellow tool logo on the front: "Building Together for the Glory of God" and "First Presbyterian Church and Firelands Habitat for Humanity's slogan: Building Together." Beneath was a scripture: "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1.

The new sign at the site thanks First Presbyterian Church for its sponsorship. Other sponsors listed are: Whirlpool Corporation who provides each Habitat house with a stove and refrigerator. Bulldog Art and Signs provides the sign at the site. Dow Chemical provides all the Tyvek and Blueboard used for each house. Larson Doors provides front and side storm doors. Hunter Douglas provides mini-blinds for the homes. Local businesses, Fresch Electric and DeLuca Plumbing, provide materials at discount.

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