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Habitat for Humanity family: new house worth 5 years work

June 1, 2019

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Dierdre Peggen Berry worked and waited five years for a home to call her own.

With help from Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity, volunteers from across the country and her own efforts, her family recently received the key to their new East Tupelo home.

“It was worth the wait,” said Berry, who remembers a snake crawling through the roof of a mobile home she lived in when she first began the Habitat for Humanity program.

The three-bedroom house is close to the Lee County Family Resource Center where she works, not far from her family in Plantersville, and just down the road from her church, Red Oak Grove Missionary Baptist.

“It’s perfect,” she said.

Retirees, church groups and Collegiate Challenge students working alongside subcontractors helped the Berry family make the house a reality, said Habitat for Humanity construction manager Chris Partain.

“A lot of love went into these walls,” Partin said.

Not only did Berry invest hard work into the home, she brought patience when rain delayed such work.

“She would say, ‘We’re not on our time; we’re on God’s time,’” Partin said during the dedication.

Berry applied to Habitat for Humanity in 2014 on the advice on her aunt. She didn’t have any experience with construction before she began to put in the sweat equity required of all Habitat partners.

“It’s been so much fun to learn,” Berry said. “I’ve even done roof work.”

She was a Habitat partner when she married Travonta Berry. Working on the East Tupelo house has taken the place of date nights since January.

“It was so much fun,” Berry said.

They were looking forward to moving into the home with their blended family of five children ages 16 to 8. Her 16-year-old daughter helped frame the house.

“They are so excited,” Berry said.

Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity is on track to finish five homes this year, said executive director Michelle Shepherd. A Habitat house is currently under construction in Nettleton and they expect to start on a home in East Tupelo next.

Like all Habitat partners, Berry will pay back an interest-free loan to cover the $65,000 in construction costs for her home, Shepherd said. That money will go back into Habitat coffers to build more houses.

“We always need volunteers and donors, and donations can be money, land or building materials,” Shepherd said.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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