WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County Habitat for Humanity held a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 8, at the home of the Poe family in West Jefferson, handing them the keys to the new life they worked hard to achieve.

The house was the first built by Habitat for Humanity in Ashe County, and now welcomes John, Cynthia, Brooklyn and Luke Poe as its occupants. According to Construction Committee Chair Gerry Tygielski, the house uses geothermal heating, solar panels and special concrete walls to keep energy costs much lower than a normal house.

The re-dedication ceremony began with a welcome from Ashe County Habitat for Humanity President Bill Wheeler, before Rev. Michael Lea of the First Baptist Church of West Jefferson lead an opening prayer. Wheeler then introduced the Poe’s to the crowd who gathered for the ceremony and gave them a Bible for their home.

Next was Linda McClintock, who lead the group in the litany of dedication, followed by Tygielski, who presented a hammer to the Poe family, a symbol of the hours of work they put in to making this a reality. Next was an emotional gift from Maureen Howard, who handed the Poe family the key to the home. Howard was the first Habitat Homeowner in Ashe County, and previously lived in the home being dedicated.

“This has been amazing for our family,” Cynthia Poe said. “We couldn’t have done this and learned as much as we did without Habitat, so I really appreciate it.”

Wheeler said the home was “a hand up, not a hand out,” and the Poe family put many hours of work into getting the home. Much of this was through the Habitat for Humanity’s “sweat equity” system, which rewards people who volunteered on other home builds, worked in the ReStore and taking homeowner classes.

The final gift the Poe family received was a print of work done by Lenore De Pree, called “Many Hands,” which represents the many people and the work they do to get people into a Habitat for Humanity home.

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