OLD TOWN (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Everyone knows the organization and its mission, but it's something else to witness the success firsthand.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor dedicated an Old Town home to one lucky recipient and her family Tuesday afternoon.
Renee Byers is a mother of four, working to finish her associate’s degree at Eastern Maine Community College. She no longer has to worry about keeping a roof over her family.
"This is our forever home,” says Byers.
She waited a long time for this life-changing call.
"I had waited for the call and then I hadn't heard [anything] from them for quite awhile,” Byers tells NEWS CENTER Maine.
She didn't think there was a chance she would be chosen to receive the renovated house on Seventh Street.
"I was so excited that I didn't have enough words to even explain,” says Byers. “I think I cried a little bit, and I was in shock, and I was like, 'oh, no way.'"
It took the home going into foreclosure, and the town to donate the house to Habitat for Humanity, but even then, the house was not up to code. It needed a lot of work, which is when Walter Knox and his EMCC students came into the picture.
"It's nice to actually have the students be able to be involved in a community project like this,” says EMCC Adjunct Faculty professor Walter Knox. “On a day like today where we actually turn the keys over to the homeowner, it brings a real meaning to the program."
Students at EMCC and the University of Maine studying construction and electrical worked on the home as part of their capstone project. They also donated their time, including a lot of long nights, to see the house to completion.
"I can't wait to get in here,” says Byers. “I can't wait for our first night here, to see how the kids react to having their first night in their new bedrooms. I'm just overwhelmed with excitement over it, and it feels amazing."
Byers' oldest daughter, Liz, is finishing the eighth grade. The younger girls, Faith and Hope, have names which described the emotion of Tuesday’s dedication.
"I'm overwhelmed with joy,” adds Byers. “I'm trying to hold back tears.”
This is the twentieth home Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor has built since its inception in 1989. The organization is working to finish its twenty-first home, also in Old Town, which is on schedule for completion in three weeks.