Habitat means hope

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Timeka Murphy of Boykins is the latest in a series of proud homeowners, which has been made possible through the assistance of the Southampton/Franklin Habitat for Humanity. On Saturday afternoon, she officially received the keys to the three-bedroom, two-bath house on Virginia Avenue.

Murphy, who is originally from the town, said she lives — used to live, rather —  with her children Shardai, Sharvari and Antonio in an apartment just across the railroad tracks. A little over a year ago, somebody had told her about the Habitat program. She got an application from the Humanity store in Franklin, which asked about her credit, income and employment; Murphy’s at Text Temp in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. After having been chosen, she was required to devote 300 hours of what the organization likes to call “sweat equity.”

In her case, Murphy remembered, she put in 300 hours by running wires, hammering nails and painting among other tasks.

Work was completed on July 12, and the ceremony was scheduled for the weekend. The sign in the front yard designated her home was made possible through Habitat: “We build homes, lives and communities through faith.”

Standing on the wooden balcony in the backyard, HH board chairwoman Anita Holt first told all present that a house is “more than a dwelling, but also a symbol of God’s care. It means hope for the family. Timeka, may your family be filled with the love and grace of God.”

She added with a smile, “I knew we had made the right choice.”

Holding a Bible presented by Holt as a gift, Timeka said, “I’m excited! I thank God, for without Him this wouldn’t be possible. I thank Habitat for Humanity, my family and church family. Thank you!”

Presenting the keys were the Rev. Randy Wright and Chris Schafer, who volunteered in the building.

“It was a joy to be here working,” said Wright.

“It never felt like a chore,” Shafer said about the task, which took place one year and one month to complete. “We’ve come to love her and her family.”

Also helping with construction was Willie Diggs, a brickmason for 30 years; he and his crew laid the foundation. He’s also Murphy’s pastor at Galilee Baptist Church in Branchville, and served to give the invocation and blessing during the ceremony.

Other people mentioned for their work are “PeeWee” Joyner, Harvey Umphlett and contractor Roland Jernigan.

Family and friends who attended were able to tour the house, which still awaited furniture and beds. The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. generously presented the family, with kitchen, bathroom and laundry supplies, as well as the food for the reception.

Asked when she’s going to move in, Murphy said laughing, “As soon as everybody’s gone.”