‘Thankful and blessed’: Habitat starts new home for Hartselle woman
Makala Coker and her 2–year–old son, Kingston, live in a small, second–floor apartment with no balcony. The toddler has no backyard in which to roam and play, and the small space is a hindrance to the family’s lifestyle – and their safety.
That will all change when Coker becomes a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County. The nonprofit organization began its 21st house in Hartselle, located on Homeplace Avenue.
Members of the community joined the organization, its volunteers and staff to commemorate the occasion April 13 with a wall raising for the new construction.
Dewayne Eddy, who serves as the chairman of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County, said the new home will provide Coker with a nice backyard and a safer environment for her family. Eddy said he was pleased to see so many people support the Coker family and Habitat for Humanity at the wall raising.
“To see the mayor, board members and so many people come out is just fantastic,” he said.
Eddy also praised the staff of Habitat for Humanity. “The staff at Habitat have done a fabulous job, especially letting the community know what’s going on,” Eddy said.
As a future homeowner through Habitat, Coker has had to take a certain number of classes and put in 200 work hours through the program. “Makala has been more than willing to do everything required of her,” Eddy added. “She has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this.
“Some people think our homeowners are just given free houses, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he added. “There is a loan – it’s interest free – and they do pay that back.”
Coker said she first heard she had been chosen as a future Habitat homeowner in February 2019.
“It was exciting news to hear,” she said. “It sounded almost too good to be true.”
Among other improvements, Coker said she is looking forward to having a backyard where Kingston can play. “I also can’t wait to decorate and call this house my home.”
“I want to say thank you to all Habitat volunteers, sponsors and staff,” she added. “This is truly a blessing, and I can’t begin to put into words how grateful I am to be given this opportunity.”
Safety is the No. 1 priority for the Habitat crew at a job site, Eddy said. The project, depending on weather events, is set to be completed by July 10.
“We’ve done it with 12 people, and we’ve done it with as many as 400 people spread out over a 10-week period,” he said. “We want the volunteers and the help, but we do have a core group of guys here who do a fabulous job. These guys enjoy what they do.”
Eddy said it takes about 1,000 man hours to complete a Habitat home – typically a 1,200 square foot house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
After the wall raising, organizers passed out Sharpies so attendees could write messages on the wall studs. Coker chose to write the words “thankful and blessed” on the support wall of her soon-to-be home.
Her grandmother, Faye Roy Coker, also left a message: “Makala, King: Mamaw is so proud of you and what you’d accomplished. Love you.”
“It’s very special. Those are going to be memories she can look back on for the next 20-30 years,” Eddy said.