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Habitat builds disabled vet and wife a new house

POSTED: February 7, 2009 12:32 a.m.

Oakwood couple gets a Habitat home

Watch the dedication of Jack and Joyce Orr's new Habitat for Humanity home in Oakwood.

SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Jack and Joyce Orr enter their new Habitat for Humanity home Friday in Oakwood during a dedication ceremony. Their new house, which is on the same property as their old one, was furnished and nearly ready to move into.

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A disabled Vietnam veteran took the first steps into his new home Friday, flanked by his wife and the people who helped build it.

Habitat for Humanity held an official dedication ceremony for the home Friday. The home was the 33rd completed by the organization in Hall County.

The previous home of Oakwood residents Jack and Joyce Orr was in disrepair, so local government, businesses and organizations teamed up to build them a new home.

The Orrs’ home was in bad shape, heated only by a wood-burning stove. Joyce Orr said they could not afford to repair it. So instead, a new home was built on the property. The old home will be demolished as soon as the Orrs swap residences.

Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs spoke about how deserving the Orrs were of a new home.

"We knew when we had the opportunity we wanted to help Jack if we could," Scroggs said. "I know I’ll feel awful good knowing they’re going to be in a home that’s warm."

Robb Owens, director of Hall County Habitat for Humanity, said his favorite part about completing the house is seeing how much it helps the family.

"It’s kind of about the houses, but it’s more about the families helped. We’re really excited to have helped 33 families in Hall County," Owens said. "And this was a really unique project and it was really fun because so many groups came together to work on this. We had the city of Oakwood, we had Home Development Resources, we had (Department of Community Affairs) and especially America’s Homeplace."

Dave Rigdon, Northeast Georgia division president of America’s Home Place, said he was happy to improve the quality of life of a man who served in the military.

"Jack Orr being a veteran and me being a veteran, it’s nice to help out a guy that gave his time in service as I did," Rigdon said.

Oakwood applied for funding from the state to make the new home possible.

Joyce Orr was said she and her husband were very grateful for the outpouring of community support. "We’re just overwhelmed, both of us," Orr said. "I never dreamed it."

Oakwood Planning Director Larry Sparks said Oakwood applied for funding from the state to make the Orrs’ new home a reality.

Sparks said money from the Department of Community Affairs can go toward down payment assistance for low to moderate income families and also can be used for home rehabilitations, like the Orrs’.

Sparks said the city was pleased with the outcome of its first experience in housing. "This is the first time we’ve ever received any housing money," he said. "We feel it’s been very beneficial and helped someone in need."



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