Paducah resident Phaith Crider is through the roof with excitement for the next Paducah-McCracken County Habitat for Humanity home. After all, it's where she and her 10-year-old son, Aiden, will "live and grow."
"It's a wonderful, huge blessing," she said.
Crider, 29, said owning a home at a young age is difficult and she's actively tried for about five years, but encountered setbacks.
"It's like every time I get a step forward, I get knocked down three or four more, so to be able to have this opportunity and get accepted -- it's nothing short of a blessing," she said. "It's all the way -- 100 percent -- a blessing."
The mother-son duo, along with roughly 50 board members, relatives and others gathered under the hot sun Thursday morning for groundbreaking of the nonprofit's 73rd home, where attendees prayed, shoveled dirt and blessed the project. The home will be located at 932 River Oaks Blvd., and is funded by Leadership Paducah Class No. 32.
The leadership group has sponsored the build, donating $74,800 and securing more than $16,000 worth of in-kind contributions for electrical, insulation and plumbing work from Beltline, Air-Tite Insulation and Ballard Plumbing Service.
"They're actually going to help us build it," said Brenda Langlois, executive director for Paducah-McCracken County Habitat for Humanity. "They're going to roll up some sleeves and get dirty and help us build this house too, so from start to finish, this will be their project. We're just really thrilled about that."
Langlois said Habitat hopes to start digging in August and complete the Crider home by Christmas, but the exact timeframe depends on weather. Habitat home No. 72 on Jackson Street is set for a home dedication next week and took a "number of months" to finish because of weather.
"We've had such a wet year and it pushes contractors back, so it pushes our work back," she said. "Ideally, we're hoping six months, seven months -- get the family in it sometime the first part of next year."
Leadership Paducah Class No. 32's donation is expected to cover the home's construction with some money left over to put toward its spring/summer build in 2020, according to Langlois.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of this project, to support such a worthy cause in Habitat for Humanity," class member Tammy Courtney told attendees at the groundbreaking. "We are so happy to have raised enough funds to provide a home for a very worthy family. We hope you enjoy it and are blessed in your new home."
Families meet certain requirements to qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, such as income and family size, and pay an interest free mortgage. They are also required to put in 350 hours of "sweat equity," such as helping with construction, clearing lots, painting and other activities.
Crider said the groundbreaking ceremony made it seem real for her.
"I just want Habitat to know that we are -- sincerely, from the bottom of our heart -- appreciative of this opportunity and it means so much to us as a family," she said. "My parents are proud. My son is ecstatic. It's wonderful."
Visit paducahhabitat.org for more information on the nonprofit and to find out how to volunteer, donate or qualify for future homes. Habitat is not currently accepting applications for a home, but plans to publicize when the application process is open.