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Oakwood veterans family gets Habitat home
Jack Orr smiles Thursday afternoon as he joins Allen Jernigan and others in a ceremonial groundbreaking of his new Habitat for Humanity home on Oak Street in Oakwood.


Oakwood Mayor Pro Tem Sam Evans speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony at 4503 Oak St.

OAKWOOD — A disabled Vietnam War veteran’s family will move into a new home in about a month or so thanks to the efforts of several area organizations.

Habitat for Humanity of Hall County broke ground Thursday afternoon on its 33rd home.

Officials with Habitat, along with other participating agencies, held a ceremony at the 4503 Oak St. house as Jack Orr and his family watched.

"We are honored to build this house," said Walter Boomershine Jr., a Habitat board member and past president of the organization. "Jack is deserving of it. I wish him all of God’s blessings."

The new home will replace one next door off Oak and Academy streets that has been deemed not fit for occupancy, according to Habitat officials.

Also participating in the home effort are Oakwood, Home Development Resources Inc. and America’s Home Place.

Funding for the home, which will feature three bedrooms and two baths, will come from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and United Community Bank, according to Habitat.

Orr’s wife, Joyce Orr, said she thanked all those helping in the home’s construction.

"Our prayers are answered," she said.

The Orrs’ steps toward a new home involved a collaboration of different groups.

Oakwood received a grant from the state Department of Community Affairs for homeowner repairs, reconstruction and down payment assistance, said Mary Ledbetter, executive director of Home Development Resources.

HDR is a nonprofit agency set up by Hall County and Gainesville to provide free homebuyer and debt management education. It administers the homeowner program for Oakwood.

With the Orr home considered "not feasible to be repaired," HDR contracted with Habitat to build the new house, Ledbetter said.

Habitat subcontracted with America’s Home Place, she added.

Typically, Habitat homeowners must meet certain qualifications, including income guidelines.

Mortgage payments then are recycled into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.

Dave Rigdon, division president for America’s Home Place, said that as a fellow veteran, he appreciated Orr’s service in the military.

"We’re going to build you a good home," he said. "... We’re here today because of Jesus Christ. He drove us to this project."

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