Habitat for Humanity builds special home

Tuesday, July 15th 2008, 7:53 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

The Central Oklahoma chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds about 50 homes every year for low-income families. They have builds going on all the time.

There are dozens of corporate, professional and philanthropic partners in the metro that donate their labor to these builds and typically they have no connection to the person, for whom they're building the home. That is not the case, however, for the latest build.

Like every other Habitat build, the latest one just west of downtown started Tuesday morning with basic instructions, a prayer and a quick introduction of the future homeowner.

John and Anthanetta Smith are thrilled to be getting a new home in a neighborhood where they have deep family roots.

"My mom was born, she wouldn't like this, but her and her twin sister were born in a tent in this neighborhood," Anthanetta said.

Their current home, they said, is in bad shape.

"It's fixing to be condemned, so God interceded and intervened in it, and now we went to Habitat and we've got a new home coming up," John said.

The Smiths, like other Habitat homeowners, are required to put 300 hours of sweat equity into the home; not a problem for a man who was shot down and taken prisoner in Vietnam. John is a former Navy Seal who served his nation with honor. His service is a fact that the volunteers on the build -- airmen and sailors from Tinker Air Force Base -- find particularly meaningful.

"Having somebody of his caliber, a Navy Seal, a veteran of Vietnam, that's something that a lot of us understand," MSgt. Bernard Anderson said. "We've all, the majority of us have, deployed and been involved in the most recent conflicts."

"I guess the main thing out of this, I want to thank God first, but second, the young men that are putting themselves in harm's way, I thank them," John said.

Quite a bit of mutual respect was there at that build site, not to mention a lot of hard work. They had that first wall up inside of 60 minutes.

The Tinker group will be out at the site for the next two weeks.