Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County helped welcome the Medina family to their new home in Sherman Saturday morning. The organization, which helps build homes new, low-cost homes for families in need, held an event to mark the occasion and celebrate with the family.
Saturday’s ceremony included speeches and scriptures read both in English and Spanish for the diverse group that gathered at the new home, located on south Montgomery. The crowd included volunteers with the organization, donors to the project and friends and family of the Medina family
“We have some here who do not speak Spanish and we have some here who do not speak English,” said Fr. Fred Caldwell who translating his speech between the languages. “We have people here from different faith and they all pray a little different.”
Caldwell, a retired Catholic minister, blessed the home with holy water.
Laurie Mealy, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, said Jose and Cristina Medina were in need of a home for their growing family, which includes daughter Audrey who has medical issues and uses a wheelchair.
Prior to the move, the family, who welcomed its fifth member earlier this year, lived in a small apartment.
“The family of four was living in one bedroom with all that medical equipment,” Mealy said, referring to when she met the family.
Jose Medina said he and his family originally tried to join the Habitat program nearly seven years ago, but had to abandon those efforts when Audrey was hospitalized for an extended period. However, the family recently was able to volunteer again and develop the “sweat equity” that is required of recipients, Mealy said.
The new home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms with more than 1,100 square feet of space.
Mealy said Habitat has built all of its homes in recent years to be Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible, regardless of it the family is in need of the features at the time. She said this will allow the family to grow into the home and use this if it becomes necessary later in life. This is only the second time that the organization has had a recipient who needed the features at the time of the build.
All homes come equipped with low-entry showers thanks to a donation of the equipment in recent years, Mealy said. Features in the Medina home include wider doorways and an open floor plan, she added.
“We tried to design it so this is an easy-care home,” she said.
Other features of the new home include landscaping to serve as a way station for monarch butterflies on their journeys between Mexico and Canada each year. Organizers joked that through this they could create habitat not only for one family, but for many generations.
The Medina home represents the 37th home that has been built by Habitat for Humanity in Grayson County since the local chapter was formed in 1991. Mealy said the group plans to start work on its next home on Denison’s Munson Street in two weeks. This year, the group plans to work on two homes during the summer with another planned for the fall.
Michael Hutchins is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mhutchinsHD on Twitter.