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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • 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).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • 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.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. 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.

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