TOP PHOTO: The latest home built by Habitat for Humanity was finished Thursday and is another Habitat success story.

Habitat President Zach Sheets helps stretch the ribbon on Tonya Douglas’ new home. Tonya’s son, Derrick, and daughter, Keerstin, look on.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – “Tonight. We’re moving in tonight,” said Tonya Douglas. Douglas and her family snipped the ribbon on their new Habitat for Humanity home Thursday evening and then began carrying boxes into their new abode at 610 East Fir Street.

(Left to right) Keerstin, Derrick and Tonya Douglas in their new home. “This has been a long time coming,” said Tonya with a big smile of appreciation.

When asked if this was a dream come true, there was a pause and then a smile. “A new beginning,” said Tonya. She said she was thankful and blessed she is to have this opportunity to own her very first home.

Tonya especially loves her new cabinets.

Tonya’s sister owns a Habitat Home, and when she saw where Habitat was taking applications and decided to apply. “The application process was easy, and I encourage anyone who is looking to work with Habitat to do it,” said Tonya.

Tears of joy from Tonya Douglas (left) and Linda Heatherly appeared as Heatherly presented a Bible to Douglas for her new home, a tradition Heatherly began years ago.

The process of getting her new home began in October. “There were a few bumps along the way, nothing serious, and here we are,” Tonya. Tonya’s new home signaled the beginning of a groundbreaking partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). In a following story, WLAF will be featuring how the partnership came about and how it is not only making a difference in the lives of new homeowners, but the impact it’s making on savings for Habitat, the involvement of TCAT students and the hands-on experience.

Keerstin Douglas was thrilled with the flooring she selected for her family’s new home.

Aside from her investment of time and sweat equity into her new home, Tonya is the receptionist at Tennova Clinton. In August, she’ll start school studying to become a registered nurse.

The Douglas’s new Habitat Home is the final home in the East Fir Street project. “We’ve replaced a vacant lot and a dilapidated home with four beautiful homes,” said Zach Sheets, President of Habitat.

Tonya’s 19-year old daughter Keerstin, a sophomore at Tennessee Tech, and son Derrick, an 8th grader at La Follette Middle School, are equally as thrilled to be moving into their new home.

Zach Sheets, President of Habitat for Humanity, expressed appreciation to all who played a part in making the new home a reality.

With Keerstin away at college, Derrick picked his room first. “I think it’s really cool,” said Tonya.

“We have lots of closet space, but mom’s room has the big walk-in closet,” said Keerstin Douglas. The three bedroom home includes one and a half baths plus a family room and kitchen/dining room, an open concept.

“I’m really excited. I helped pick everything out, chose it all. It was stressful but fun,” said Keerstin. She’s glad to have two windows in her room.

A nice crowd turned out on a steamy Thursday evening to congratulate the Douglas Family.

Derrick was excited about having their own yard. “I’ll be mowing it,” he said.

Andrea Bowman’s tradition of creating signs for new Habitat Home owners was one of the last steps of Thursday’s dedication ceremony ahead of Pastor Dusty Brock’s closing prayer and the ribbon cutting.

As it stands, the Douglas family plans to be all moved in by Saturday. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/22/2022-6AM)

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