In front, from left, are Lanita Pride, Jim Grove, Anne Grove, Kathy Small, Bill Andrews, Denise Andrews, Mary Vivian White, Ellen Winters, Dewey Peterson, Georgia Peterson, Chuck Traylor and Randy DeBooy; and in back, Rebecca Gentry, Calum, Penny (Michelle’s mom), Velma Perry (Grammy), Michelle Iles holding Gabrielle, Nicholas Iles holding Gavin and Michael (Michelle’s dad).

On Saturday, July 11, a house blessing was held for the home of Nicholas and Michelle Iles and their three children, Calum, Gavin and Gabrielle. This build is the 43rd home being built by Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity and is very special as it is the Unity Build of 2009.

Coming together on this build are the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee through the 20 Houses 20 Dreams Initiative and the area churches of Central Baptist, Christ Lutheran, Christian Church of the Cumberlands, Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association, Cumberland Worship Center, Dorton United Methodist, Eastland Church of Christ, FG Community Church, FG First Baptist, FG United Methodist, Faith Worship Center, First United Methodist, Linary Church of Christ, Memorial Baptist, the Ministerial Association of Cumberland County, New Beginnings Fellowship, Pine Eden Baptist, Pleasant Hill Community United Church of Christ, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Southwest Baptist, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic, and St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church through prayer and love offerings.

The ceremony opened with a welcome given by HFH Development Director Pat Wiedemann. Dewey Peterson, from New Beginnings Fellowship Church and past president of the HFH Board, said an opening prayer and continued with a blessing and scripture reading for every room in the house. Nicholas and Michelle were asked to step forward and were given a toolbox to help them build and maintain their home by Lowe’s Commercial Sales representative Randy DeBooy. Ellen Winters, family partner to the Ileses, tearfully said a few words about the family and the ceremony closed with Nicholas Iles delivering a very moving prayer blessing everyone who has done anything to help them realize their dream of a home of their own.

After a photo session, carpenter’s pencils were handed out and everyone rushed to find a place to autograph the exposed studs.