Habitat Success: Nancy Alamia is first to pay off mortgage 2001.08.18

Written by David Green.

nancy_house.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

There’s a very special event planned in Morenci later this month, said Lenawee Habitat for Humanity executive director Bob Dister, and it’s significant in more ways than one.

For Bob, it’s a series of firsts.

At a mortgage burning ceremony Aug. 29, Nancy Alamia will become the first Habitat home owner in Lenawee County to pay off her home mortgage.

Going backward to the groundbreaking in 1996, the Alamia home was the first Habitat project in Morenci and it was Bob’s first involvement with the group, where he worked as a volunteer helping organize the project.

Now, 13 and a half years later, Bob is serving as the director of Habitat and the mortgage burning marks the county’s first completed project, with a Habitat family in full possession of the home.

“In 21 years of Lenawee Habitat for Humanity,” Bob said, “this is the first one to pay off a mortgage.”

Lenawee’s group has built 35 new homes and rehabilitated two homes, leading to home ownership for 67 adults and 149 children.

Bob remembers a conversation with Rev. Evans Bentley who asked about getting affordable housing in the city. Contact was made with Harvey Souder who suggested Habitat.

The ball started rolling.

Bob organized the first Labor Day Bridge Walk over Silver Creek, and for the first two years, the event raised funds for a Habitat project.

A notice was published in the Observer, seeking people interested in obtaining a home. Bob, the owner of Little People’s Place child care center, mentioned it to Nancy Alamia one day when she came to pick up her boys from child care. As a renter, she liked the idea of home ownership and she was chosen as the community’s first Habitat family.

The project soon became a community-wide effort.

Bob organized the project and V.C. “Tom” Valentine stepped in as construction supervisor. When Bob’s sister was hospitalized with an illness, Rev. Bruce Banks stepped in to fill the gap.

The Alamias moved in on a February day in 1997. Thirteen years later, the house is theirs.

Grateful

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Nancy said about the end of mortgage payments. “It probably will at the burning.”

Since moving in, she’s planted trees and added flower beds.nancy_close.jpg

“I bought a gas fireplace as a treat to myself three years ago.”

With mortgage payments out of the way, she’s thinking of expanding her deck. She would really like to buy some of the adjoining property for construction of a garage.

Nancy was surprised to hear that she’s the first to finish up payments—she even finished a little early—but Bob explained that not everyone is able to make payments as diligently as Nancy. In some cases, there’s been a change in life circumstances and people have moved away.

Nancy was able to stay in place, right where she wanted to be.

“I’m grateful for all the support I received,” she said. “I hope everybody sees it as a positive program. I always wanted to maintain a positive image of the home. It gives you a little more to work to work for with ownership, compared to renting. It also gave me some personal growth.”

She’s reminded of the generosity of others every time she heads into the crawl space to change furnace filters. It’s there that she sees a two by four with the signatures of elementary school students.

A small structure was built and taken to the school as a fund-raiser, she remembers. Kids dropped change into a container and autographed the wood. The boards were later used in the construction of her home. None are visible except for that one board by the furnace.

“A quarter, a dime—a little bit of effort from so many people,” Nancy said. “I wonder if people realize that such a small part of their lives can make a big part of someone else’s life.”

They probably don’t think that “I gave a quarter and look what it’s become now,” she said.

Nancy knows. She represents the closure of Lenawee’s first Habitat success story—successful from start to finish.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017