The house, built by volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County, was dedicated Saturday as the owner Windy Davis prepared to move in with her two children, Hayden, 7, and Taffanie, 11.
Pasley, pastor of Crossplains Church in Piedmont where Davis attends, said he recommended to Davis that she apply for the Habitat for Humanity program.
Pasley met Davis last summer after the members of Crossplains Church participated in a summer feeding program, he said. They went out into the community handing out meals featuring hamburgers and one of the members visited the Davis home in the Piedmont Housing Authority, he said. During the visit, the member invited Davis to their church.
“She came the first Sunday completely by herself,” Pasley said. “That following Wednesday, she came back with 10 people and she’s been there ever since.”
Davis became an active member of the church. She started teaching a pre-kindergarten class at Capstone Christian Academy with Gwen Crawford, another member of the church, who is co-director of the school. So, last year, after Pasley’s brother-in-law called him and told him that Habitat was looking to build in Piedmont, it wasn’t long before Davis’ name came up.
Davis was living in an apartment that wasn’t handicapped-accessible. It made life difficult because her daughter, Hayden, has Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder, and must use a wheelchair, said her mother.
In fact, Davis said she is most excited about the bathroom in her new home. In their apartment, the wheelchair is too big to wheel to the bathroom, Davis said. She had to carry her 44-pound daughter into the room from the hall. Her specially-made bath bed didn’t even fit in the tub, Davis said. The new bathroom has a wide-open shower stall that she can wheel right up to, Davis said.
“I can put her wheelchair in there and still have room to walk around,” Davis said, adding with a laugh. “It’s going to make her quality of life a lot better and (be) a lot easier on my back.”
Davis applied for the Habitat program in January, she said.
“Immediately as soon as people heard that she was putting in for it, there was a lot of people praying and hoping and really wanting to see it go through for her,” Pasley said.
In late February or early March, Davis heard that she had gotten the house.
“I was a little overwhelmed; I couldn’t breathe,” Davis said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”
The build started in mid-March. As soon as the shell of the house was up, Davis, her children and her friends came into the house and wrote scripture verses on the walls. The verses are now covered with paint, but they continue to provide a cloud of strength around her family, Ron Hindman, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County, said during the dedication.
Davis’ friends from church volunteered to help with the build when they could. Crawford said she helped write the scripture verses on the walls and she also helped provide food for the volunteers working on the house. She also plans to help landscape the yard, which is has no grass.
This is the 148th Habitat house built in Calhoun County, Hindman said. It is the second house built in Piedmont. The last one was built in the city about 15 years ago, he said. Some 65 volunteers worked on the project including four families from out of state, he said.
Davis’ house was built with funds from HOME Consortium, a partnership between Anniston, Calhoun County, Hobson City, Jacksonville, Piedmont and Weaver. The consortium uses federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to provide housing for low-income residents, Hindman said. The house is built on a lot that had been condemned. The city cleared the old house and Habitat paid a lien on the property to purchase the lot, Hindman said.
More than a few tears were shed by the people gathered in the living room for the dedication as Davis told her story and thanked everyone for their support.
“I love this place,” Davis said, her voice husky with emotion. “I have a lot to be thankful for. I just never imagined how (God) would come through for me ‘cause I’m not worthy.”
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.