NORTH FORSYTH — There were plenty of hugs and tears of joy Thursday afternoon as volunteers with the Lanier Fuller Center for Housing gathered to welcome a mother and her two young daughters to their fully refurbished home in north Forsyth.
In 2011, a devastating fire displaced Rhonda Hall and daughter Jacqulen, now 4, from the mobile home in which they were living off Gravitt Road. At that time, Hall was pregnant with Leah, now 2.
The blaze forced Hall and her daughter to live with her sister in Dahlonega and she had to give up her job.
A company learned of the family’s struggles and donated a used, double-wide mobile home for the family, but it was in great disrepair.
Chuck Ingraham, who last year founded the local chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing, a spinoff of Habitat for Humanity that helps families with home repairs, decided to make Hall’s home the chapter’s first project.
Ingraham said the family first went to Habitat for Humanity for help. But due to the scope of Habitat’s work, which involves building homes from the ground up, that organization was unable to help.
However, leaders of the organization referred Hall to Ingraham and his recently begun chapter of the international ministry that was founded in 2005 by Millard and Linda Fuller. The Fullers began Habitat for Humanity in the 1970s.
Work to refurbish the mobile home began in January.
Lanier Fuller volunteers have spent numerous hours in the months since then working to make the home into a structurally secure permanent structure.
Some of the work included pouring a foundation, stripping exterior and interior walls and rebuilding them in ways more similar to an actual house, and adding permanent porches to the front and rear entrances.
The project also included a new roof and finishing touches such as painting, flooring and furnishings, so the family could move right in.
On Thursday, Hall finally received the keys to the home and got her first look inside it.
Ingraham and other Lanier Fuller Housing Ministry volunteers, along with representatives of the Rice Foundation, which donated substantially to the project, and other businesses that helped, welcomed the family Thursday.
“Our nonprofit ministry was founded a year ago … based on the Bible verse that it is better to give than to receive,” Ingraham said. “And we have been blessed with the Lord’s blessings for over 2,700 man and woman hours [on this project].”
Through tears, Hall said the day was “a dream come true.”
As for the volunteers, she couldn’t thank them enough.
“They’re just angels,” she said. “Every one of them, they’re all angels.”