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Updated: 07/16/2017 08:30:01AM

New Habitat homeowner welcomes visitors

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Patricia Walker, on left, smiles, laughs and hugs her youngest grandson, 9-year-old Demetrie Walker. Habitat for Humanity of Highlands County staff and volunteers around her threw a dedication and housewarming party Wednesday for her new home on Patton Avenue in Highlands Park Estates. She had built 'sweat equity' in volunteer hours for 10 years to earn her Habitat for Humanity home.


From the left, Alan Jay Wildstein, owner of Alan Jay Automotive Network, smiles at new homeowner Patricia Walker as she prepares to shake her house keys in a video being filmed by friends. Wildstein and Michael Alan Witham, his chief operating officer, helped Walker celebrate her new mortgage on a Habitat for Humanity home, since Wildstein's company sponsored the home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Highlands County and other grants and donors.


Patricia Walker of Lake Placid, on left, greets and talks with Donna Appel, a recent transplant to Lake Placid who had a Habitat for Humanity home 15 years ago in Riverton, Wyoming. Walker just took possession of her Habitat home at a dedication on Wednesday. Appel said she learned of Walker's housewarming party from a feature in the Highlands News-Sun.


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LAKE PLACID — Patricia Walker told a house packed with people Wednesday that she gave God the glory for her new Habitat for Humanity home in Highlands Park Estates.

She took possession of the house during a dedication ceremony, which had to move indoors once early afternoon rains began soaking the front yard. All of the presenters and well-wishers fitted in the living room of Walker’s 950-square-foot home. The only presentation that didn’t go as planned was Jan Groves with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Instead of placing a U.S. flag in a holder on the porch, she presented Walker with the flag indoors, with plans to place it once the weather cleared.

Pastor Lee Pickett of Fresh Fire Christian Center in Orlando — Walker’s brother-in-law — gave the opening and closing prayers. Habitat Community Engagement Leader Dayna Carlton led a Litany of Life reading.

Walker’s sister, Beverlin Pickett, read from Hebrews, Chapter 3, Verses 3-4: “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”

House sponsor Alan Jay Wildstein presented Walker with her keys. Habitat board members Sheri Bates and JoAnn Chandler presented her with a Bible, a quilt and grocery/supplies basket, respectively.

Walker, at the house on Monday for final cleanup before the dedication, said she gave God the glory for being able to have a new home of her own.

After the ceremony, visitors enjoyed sandwiches, fruit plates, cake and sweet tea. One visitor, Donna Appel of Lake Placid, came less for refreshments but to meet a fellow Habitat homeowner. Appel moved into a Habitat home 15 years ago in Riverton, Wyoming. When her situation improved, she sold the home and repaid her Habitat loan. That helped the Habitat affiliate build two new homes, she said.

Appel said the experience of earning sweat equity working on homes also had another benefit. It got her son, now 30, into home construction.

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