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Habitat for Humanity/ODU House Dedicated June 19

The Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads house the Old Dominion University community adopted last November as a volunteer project was officially dedicated Saturday afternoon, June 19.

Over the past seven months, hundreds of ODU volunteers joined the Habitat organization and others in the area to help build the house on a vacant lot at 1522 W. 39th St. in Lambert's Point, just south of the campus. At the June 19 ceremony, the volunteers were thanked, and the home's new residents - LaShawn Jones and her daughters Deja and Dijon - received keys to the house along with several housewarming gifts.

After getting a hug from Russ Hechinger, a Habitat volunteer who presented her with a large wooden key bearing the names of many of the people who worked on the project, an emotional LaShawn Jones offered her thanks to everyone who participated. "I am so thankful and so grateful for all the volunteers - Habitat, ODU, everyone who pitched in to make my daughters' and my dream come true. Thank you so very much."

Geneva Walker-Johnson, ODU executive director of student affairs and dean of students, was among those at the dedication who spoke and presented gifts. She gave Jones an ODU flag for her future garden as a remembrance of the university's partnership. "I want you to know how honored we are to have been a part of this very, very exciting venture. We know that it takes many hands to build a future, and we were glad to be able to lend ours," Walker-Johnson said.

She also recognized the volunteer work of students from ODU's Naval and Army ROTC programs, in particular, who devoted their time to help build the house.

Karen Medina, director of the ODU English Language Center, also spoke at the dedication and presented a gift of a pot of flowers to Jones on behalf of the ELC and the international students who volunteered.

Many groups and offices on campus, in fact, helped with the project, including employees and students from Administration and Finance, Athletics, College of Business and Public Administration, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Grounds, Institutional Advancement, Institutional Research and Student Activities.

"I believe it was a tremendous opportunity for the university to be able to assist Habitat in building the house for the Jones family," said Rick Massey, ODU associate vice president for foundations and campus coordinator for the project.

"A large portion of the Monarch community pitched in during the 'blitz week' back in November. It was amazing to see, within Homecoming Week, a bare foundation turn into a fully sheathed, rough-framed house. Since then it has been transformed into a home - one we hope the Jones Family will enjoy for many years to come."

This article was posted on: June 22, 2010

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