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80th habitat home dedicated to Meade family

Jan. 20, 2013 @ 10:54 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The house was finished, but still empty of everything except the sound of children's footsteps and laughter.

Heather Meade scanned her new Habitat for Humanity home Sunday for kids she'd attempt to settle down, and then she just smiled.

"Laughing and carrying on is better than quiet all the time," said Meade, who will be living in the new home on Riverlick Avenue with her husband, Steve, their three kids and two more children from their extended family that they've welcomed into their clan. They move in next week.

The kids "are really excited," Heather Meade said Sunday before the home was dedicated. "They're trying their best (to keep it down)."

The Meades were joined by representatives of Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity and the statewide Habitat organization for the dedication of their home on a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon. There are several things that make the house special, including the fact that it's the 80th home to be built by the Huntington affiliate and it's the first house of possibly 10 or more homes planned for Huntington's first Habitat subdivision, located on a couple acres off East Pea Ridge.

With the theme "The Silver Lining Home," the Meades' home also was the first of 25 that the statewide organization, Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia, started building in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2012.

It also is one of the larger homes built by the Huntington affiliate, having five bedrooms, and it's the first to have solar panels on the roof, installed by Mountain View Solar, based in West Virginia's eastern panhandle. Colin Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for the solar company, attended the dedication and said the panels were in fact donated by the manufacturer, which was SolarWorld of Oregon.

The home has eight panels on its roof, which could save the family $200 to $300 on their electric bill over the course of this year, Williams said, going right along with Habitat's mission of helping hard-working families save money.

"Right now, the sun is shining, these solar panels are making electricity, and it's a beautiful day," Williams said.

Workers from Mountain View Solar came to install the panels on the home and taught Habitat volunteers how it's done, so that they can be included on future Habitat projects, said volunteer Walter Mattson.

So many people coming together is what makes Habitat go, from the businesses and volunteers who donate funds and time to the new neighbors, said David Michael, executive director of the Huntington affiliate. He gave special thanks to neighbor Dick Smarr, who let builders use his water and electricity during the construction period until they had their own installed.

"Without that, this house wouldn't have happened," Michael said, adding that he hopes to see that community spirit continue and grow as the subdivision is developed. He hopes the Habitat subdivision is a place where neighbors, "care for each other, look out for each other and watch each other's kids grow up," he said.

Smarr said he thinks the Meades will be good neighbors, and Michael said the Meades are "rock stars" when it comes to Habitat families. They were required to put in 450 hours of sweat equity on their house, along with paying back their interest-free loan. They put in more than 700 hours.

Heather Meade said she wouldn't have it any other way.

"We wanted to be a part of the process from beginning to end," she said.



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