Although the skies on Monday may have threatened rain, it was the teardrops that fell from Cheresa Monmouth's eyes that told the real story of her joy at pounding that first nail in what would soon become the first home the 40-year-old had ever owned.
The Tylerite, who has lived in transitional rental housing provided by the nonprofit organization People Attempting to Help for the past five years, said she was very excited to become a homeowner.
"I'm going to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner," Ms. Monmouth said when asked about her first plans for her new home in the 1700 block of North Spring Avenue. She will move into the home, hopefully by Thanksgiving, with her two teenage children, Naquisha Monmouth, 18, and Ramontae Monmouth, 16.
The unit technician at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital said was able to pick out the flooring, carpets and lighting for her four-bedroom two-bath home.
"I want to thank God and everyone," Ms. Monmouth said before the tears began to flow and she hugged Jack Wilson, CEO of the Habitat for Humanity of Smith County.
Dozens of volunteers, nonprofit representatives, elected officials and other interested folks gathered for the 100th wall raising ceremony of Habitat's 100th home built in Smith County. The ceremony was the culmination a habitat drive to obtain and build "100 Sponsors for 100 Homes in 100 Hours," Wilson said, adding that the idea came from Habitat Director of Development Deanna Harrison. Habitat is partnering with the Tyler-based Garrett and Associates to build the organization's 100th home in 100 working hours.
Sponsors of the 100th home include nine churches and religious organizations, 25 businesses, two private foundations, a middle school, a civic organization, two nonprofit organizations and over 100 individuals.
"Habitat is a Christian organization that believes everyone can use a hammer as an instrument to manifest God's love," Ms. Harrison said. She presented a special plaque to Randy and Marcia Garret for their help with the sponsorship of the 100th home, and city of Tyler Mayor Pro Tem and District 4 Councilman Martin Heines read a special proclamation from Mayor Barbara Bass.
Wilson told the crowd that the Habitat "100 Homes" project had taught all in the organization to set goals for the future. "All of us are here today because we have set this milestone — we won't allow dreams to die, and we are already focusing on the next 100 homes," he said. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that makes homeownership possible for low-income working families, according to their website.
The Smith County affiliate was formed in 1989 and has partnered with local volunteers and donors to build 99 homes. Through its home repair program, Habitat has completed over 160 critical repair projects. For more information, call 903-595-6630 or visit the Smith County Habitat website at www.smithcountyhabitat.org.