Natalie Herron waited three years to stand on a cleared plot of land ready for a house.
“I got a call a couple weeks ago about the land being secured and a groundbreaking ceremony,” Herron said Thursday, surrounded by several Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County employees and board members.
By the end of the year Herron will move into a brand new home on Edwin Avenue in Oxford, making it the 155th home Habitat has built across the county in 24 years.
“I looked up what the background of a groundbreaking ceremony is,” said Amanda Pinson, the director of operations. “I found that a groundbreaking ceremony is a ritual that marks a transition point. I thought that was so fitting for today. Today begins a transition into homeownership. A transition to achieving strength and self-reliance to build a better life.”
Herron, who works for the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources and grew up in Anniston, said she’s looking forward to a change of scenery in Oxford.
“The school system was part of the reason I wanted to live in Oxford,” she said. “But we’ll still be close to Anniston and all my family.”
Before the ceremony, Herron’s daughter, Madilyne Banner, picked up a shovel and cut the earth spreading dirt around her.
“She’s ready to work,” Becky Hollingsworth, president of the board, said laughing.
“She’s ready to have her own bedroom,” Herron said.
Herron’s home will be the first project of the year for Habitat, Pinson said.
“We’re taking each house one at a time so we don’t really have a goal in mind for how many we want completed by the end of the year,” she said. “We will have one more in Anniston after this and then we’re going to start a home project for a local veteran.”
Phil Webb, owner of Webb Concrete and Building Material in Oxford, sponsored a challenge to raise funding and supplies for Herron’s home.
“He donated a quarter of the home and encouraged the community to compete with him to raise donations for the rest,” Pinson said. “This build would not have been possible without his work.”
Over the past three years, Herron has volunteered with Habitat in preparation for her own home.
“When they called me all I could do was thank God,” she said. “He’s really blessing me and my daughter.”