By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
It was all smiles last Sunday as a crowd of family, friends, and Habitat for Humanity volunteers packed the Lapel home of the Nicholson family.
The gathering marked the completion of a year of hard work, and the celebration of a new, comfortable home for the family.
“Pretty much everybody here did something,” said Ron Stephenson, pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church and Life Center and Habitat for Humanity board president.
That included the family that was clearly thrilled to be in their new home. Mike and Deborah Nicholson, and their children, daughter Ali, almost 20, Noah, 17, and Sophie, 13, all had a hand in the construction.
“It’s been a learning experience,” said Mike Nicholson. “I’ve learned things ... how to lay a subfloor, put in windows.” The kids and their friends pitched in.
“My son got to use a nail gun,” he said, noting he learned safety precautions to boot.
The family learned their new skills alongside the mentoring volunteers of Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s a lot more work than what you think,” the dad said. At the same time, he acknowledged, “It’s been a great experience. … It wasn’t hard because I knew I was doing it for a purpose.”
The project started more than a year ago when the Nicholsons were approached by Stephenson, their pastor.
“We both have jobs. We work hard. We try to provide for our kids,” said Nicholson. At the time, they were renting a one-and-a-half bedroom house. “We never thought about home ownership.”
“My son was living in a closet,” laughed Nicholson. The family actually converted a walk-in closet into a bedroom. With the tight living situation, Nicholson said, “You learn how to get really close to people.”
“They’ve never had their own rooms,” said Nicholson. Now, he happily reported, “My daughter just decorated her room.”
“It’s like a hotel,” said Sophie. Her bed was covered with a quilt custom-made by Leslie Breece and Connie King. The pair made a quilt for each of the beds in the new house.
“It’s just a way we can share our love of quilting and the family,” said Breece.
“I love that the kids got to see God in action, from the ground up,” said Deborah, who teared up during Sunday’s dedication.
The Nicholson home was the 41st Madison County Habitat for Humanity home constructed. It was the first one completed this year. A second one, in Anderson, was also recently completed, and will be dedicated soon.
“We’re very grateful to be given the opportunity. We feel so blessed,” said Nicholson.