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Bishop Blesses And Dedicates Habitat Home

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, left, blesses Habitat for Humanity-Evansville's Knights of Columbus Hope Build on Aug. 28. The Message photo by Tim Lilley


Bishop Joseph M. Siegel blessed and dedicated Habitat for Humanity-Evansville’s latest home – its 485th – on Aug. 28. Volunteers from Knights of Columbus councils from across the Diocese of Evansville’s South and West Deaneries built the home. Located at the corner of North 4th Ave. and Columbia Street, the new home is just a few blocks east of All Saints Parish’s St. Anthony of Padua Campus.

For the second consecutive year, this build has been financed by an anonymous donor from Ohio. In discussions with the donor, the Knights’ first effort in 2017 was called the Faith Build. This year, the home on North 4th Avenue is the Hope Build.

“We are totally blessed to be a part of this build,” said Knight Craig Blessinger of Auxilio Council 16454, of Corpus Christi Parish in Evansville and St. Philip Parish in Posey County. During the ceremony, Blessinger read several short poems selected by new homeowner Cynthia G.

“This is a celebration for Habitat … for everyone who has worked so hard on this home for me,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for more.” Benedictine Sister Jane Michele McClure, Habitat-Evansville’s Major Gifts Officer, served as master of ceremonies in place of Executive Director Beth Folz. “I am honored to tell you that Beth is in South Bend participating in the 35th Annual Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project,” she said. “I am happy to fill in for her as she represents Habitat-Evansville in this prestigious project.”

After presentations from Habitat and the Knights of items for her new home, including the keys, Cynthia G. cut the ribbon with assistance from family friend Mark Richardt. Following is her story.

Cynthia G.’s story

Cynthia G. was born in Evansville and spent her teen years here with her family, but moved south when she married. She has a daughter, Holly, 3 grown step-children and two cats.  Cynthia is now retired, but she has stayed busy.

 “I’ve done a lot of reading,” she said; “reading that I didn’t do while working.” Several years ago, Cynthia learned that her mother had cancer; she moved back to Evansville to support her mother during treatment and decided to stay after her mother passed.

In the autumn of 2016, Cynthia suffered a serious fall; recovery took a full year and required Cynthia to have home health care.

Holly, who lived in Georgia at the time, came to the rescue. However, Cynthia was living in a 1-bedroom, no-pet retirement facility. In order for Holly and the two dogs to live with Cynthia, they needed an alternative living arrangement. Holly quickly found a home with a bedroom and bathroom on the main level for Cynthia. However, the residence has posed many obstacles.

With the need for a change apparent, the family began searching for alternative housing in Evansville. However, even with Cynthia’s social security and Holly’s income as a bus driver for children with special needs, their current home’s high rent and utilities were keeping the family from saving enough for a large down payment on a decent home.

“Rent in Evansville is increasing, but my income is a fixed rate,” Cynthia said. “We didn’t have a way to get out of our current situation. Then, I learned about Habitat through my younger brother Tim, who is a Habitat homeowner. He told me about the opportunity, and I was pleasantly surprised that my perceptions of Habitat were wrong. It was a Godsend!

“This home means permanence, comfort, and security … which is terribly important to me,” Cynthia added with a smile. “It will be our space. Holly is just as excited as I am about this house. She is working six days a week, 10-12 hours per day, to save up for the home; and we are already looking forward to picking out furniture. I’ve become a spokesperson for Habitat. I feel that if more people knew about what it took to become a Habitat homeowner … more people would make donations and apply for a home.”