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Habitat grants wish

Home will be first for local group

POSTED: June 16, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Brothers, from left, Cory and Ian Berg put a puzzle together in the house their mother rents in Dawson County.

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Within the next year, Bethany Berg will realize the joy of homeownership as she becomes the first Dawson County Habitat for Humanity recipient.


“This is such a blessing,” said Berg, a single mother of two teenage sons. “I’m so blessed by Habitat for Humanity.”


The Berg’s home, expected to break ground in November, will be the first of its kind in the county, though local volunteers hope to be able to help others in the future.


A division of the national Habitat for Humanity, the local organization formed about a year ago with the late Rev. Dr. Mark Weaver at its helm.


Dawson County previously fell under the Hall County chapter of Habitat, which had built one house in the county. The new group was looking for a more local presence.


“[Weaver] saw the need for affordable housing in the county and we started looking into what we could do to bring Habitat for Humanity here,” said volunteer Steve Holder, who is overseeing the local operation.


About the same time the local group formed, Berg attended an information and application session with Habitat for Humanity North Central Georgia, which includes Dawson County.


“Being selected as a Habitat homeowner was truly a blessing from the Lord for me and my family,” the longtime Dawsonville resident said. “It is an opportunity for homeownership that I would have not had otherwise.


“We are very excited to be part of the community of Habitat for Humanity, meeting new friends and being a part of the blessing for others, too.”


Her sons are just as grateful as their mother.


“She deserves this,” said 18-year-old Ian.


Holder said an aggressive fundraising effort is under way to get the home started before year’s end.


That effort includes a $1,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation on behalf of local insurance agent Chris Gaines, who volunteers with Habitat.


Gaines said he is proud to be part of an organization so committed to making the American dream of home ownership come true.


“I encourage the community, the leaders, the businesses to not only give financially, but to also get involved in the actual build itself,” he said.


“We need the manpower to get the building going and to be able to move forward helping as many families as possible in need in this county.”


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