Tracey Dodd and her children cut the ribbon marking the completion of their new home. The Dodd family is one of three new home owners in Sylvan Lake thanks to Habitat for Humanity Red Deer. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Keys handed over as Sylvan Lake’s first Habitat for Humanity build finishes

Three families, the Redford, Schatz and Dodds, were given the keys to their new homes on Sept. 26

Tears, hugs and happy cheers filled the newly complete tri-plex in the Vista at Rider’s Ridge as three families received the keys to their new homes.

On Sept. 26 the Redford, Schatz and Dodd families gathered along with friends, families, dignitaries and well wishers to see the end result of 10 months of hard work.

Sylvan Lake’s first Habitat for Humanity build came to a close with heartfelt thanks and congratulations for all those involved.

Deanna Redford and her son said the experience has been overwhelming but has taught them a lot, including a desire to pursue a career in the trades for her son, Kaylen.

“It absolutely, truly means the world to us,” Redford said.

Her said commented on the opportunity as well, saying the experience in lending a hand to build the house from the ground up was “amazing.”

“I want to give my sincerest gratitude for giving me and my mom a better life, with a house we own instead of constantly moving and renting,” Kaylen said, adding the build would be their “forever home.”

Redford, and the other two new home owners Stephanie Schatz and Tracey Dodd, said she was convinced by others to apply for Habitat for Humanity, but did not expect to get in.

The Redford family went through a difficult time while their new home was under construction, she was laid off from her job.

“For that three months I dedicated my time, as well as my son, some friends and family, and we got those 500 hours [of sweat equity] done in three months,” Redford said with her son adding that was a record.

“We couldn’t be happier to be part of such a cause, such an amazing thing. We are so very thankful,” she said.

For Schatz, it was an emotional time as she accepted the keys to her new home.

“…Thank you to Habitat for this amazing opportunity. [My son] and I are so excited for the next chapter of our lives,” Schatz said, holding back a few tears.

Like Schatz, Dodd was thankful for her friends and family who have supported her and her daughters throughout the journey.

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer CEO Karen Vavrek says the dedication ceremony on Sept. 26 was full of firsts, but the most important one belonged to the three families.

Vavrek said the day was like a house party, one that celebrated the three families as first time homeowners.

“…Getting to this point has not been easy, it is anything but a free ride. Hours and hours of work have been put into these homes plus they have volunteers through many other community causes,” Vavrek said.

Part of the requirements for families participating in the Habitat for Humanity builds is to put in 500 hours of sweat equity.

“It is an amazing accomplishment, while juggling full-time jobs and single parenthood,” said Vavrek.

The tri-plex in Sylvan Lake marks the 35th, 36th and 37th homes built by Habitat for Humanity Red Deer.

The build was constructed through the hard work of volunteers and donations made by local businesses.

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