(Photo: Rachel Henderson’s 10-year-old daughter Stella in the kitchen of their new home)
WARRENSBURG, Missouri — In the fall of 2019, Fuller Center of Johnson County, Missouri, Director Barbara Curtis decided that their latest new home project — after numerous delays caused by everything from a lack of affordable materials to updates in the city’s building code — would be ready for occupancy by April 1, 2020, with a dedication set for March 15, 2020.
No ifs, ands or buts!
The house was completed in time for Rachel Henderson and her 10-year-old daughter Stella to move in on April 1 after getting a certificate of occupancy on March 31. But, the home dedication that would include a key and Bible presentation has yet to take place after being postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and local regulations.
“I am so relieved that we are finally ready to close on this house that I am doing the happy dance in spite of the coronavirus,” Curtis said.
Henderson’s lease on a rental property expired on March 31, so getting her into the new home was critical. The dedication, though, is just as important for Curtis and her local Fuller Center team that worked so hard to hurdle obstacle after obstacle in this effort. She said they will have that dedication soon, albeit in a way no Fuller Center has done before.
“We want to have a formal ceremony because I feel like our group needs some closure,” Curtis said. “We’re going to do a Facebook Live thing, and we’re going to make it fun. There’s going to be some hoopla and some prayers and some thank-yous. It’ll just be one person there with her daughter, and the rest of us will be looking in on it on Facebook. I consider the fact that we’re going to be able to have that a victory over all kinds of obstacles.”
In recent months, the build has become particularly emotional for Fuller Center of Johnson County Board President Bryan Jacobs, who worked tirelessly on the home, especially down the stretch. He did so while his wife of more than 26 years, Vicki, was battling cancer. This past Friday morning, April 17, she lost that battle.
“He worked so hard those last few days on the house,” Curtis noted, adding that the couple had an adult daughter and a 17-year-old daughter who is a senior in high school.
“Vicki’s intention was to hang on to see her graduate,” Curtis said. “All that’s canceled. Schools are closed. For all the seniors, there’s no prom, no graduation, no hootin’ and hollerin’. We knew it was close, but still it is just hard.”
Curtis said that Henderson has been tremendously patient through the entire process from start to finish. The dental hygienist has worked at the same office for years and completed a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course as part of her preparation for home ownership.
“She has been amazing,” Curtis said. “Bless her heart.”
She also is grateful.
“Stella and I would like to thank everyone for supporting and coming along side us during this exciting time in our lives,” Rachel said in a message to local leaders and volunteers. “I would especially like to thank the Fuller Center for Housing’s board and its many volunteers for working so humbly and tirelessly on all the many details that come with building a home. There are not enough words to explain fully my gratitude! We are blessed beyond measure, and I thank each of you for helping make our dream of home ownership come true!“