Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity dedicates its 1,000th house
Call it Central Oklahoma Habitat for 1,000 families — so far.
Brittani Githiri will call the charity builder's 1,000th house "home."
Githiri, a single mother with two young boys, was almost speechless Monday afternoon as she accepted the keys to her new house from Ann Felton Gililand, chairman and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat.
"I really don't have words," Githiri said, tearing up, managing only to squeak out an expression of gratitude at the milestone home dedication.
The house at 8121 NW 74 is in Habitat's Stephen Florentz Legacy Estates addition, southwest of W Wilshire Boulevard and N Council Road.
Githiri contributed 300 hours of labor — "sweat equity" — as her down payment and will make interest-free payments that will go into Central Oklahoma Habitat's construction fund. That's the way Central Habitat for Humanity has worked for 33 years: Homebuyers donate labor, on their own homes or others', with payments going right back into building.
"When I say, 'Welcome to our Habitat family,' I really mean that. Welcome," Gilliland said, who has led the organization for nearly its entire existence.
Maxwell Supply of Oklahoma City donated the money to build Githiri's house, $110,000, its sixth time to fully fund a Habitat build. The company provided foundation packages for rebar on Habitat home builds for almost 20 years before sponsoring its first fully funded home in 2009.
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"Families and futures. That's what we're all about here today," said Jerry Thomason, Maxwell Supply chairman.
On a day when the stock market was collapsing, oil prices tanking, and parts of the world reeling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with so much going wrong in the world, he said, it's important to "support something good."
His son, company President Charlie Thomason, said they were happy "to see a family in a fresh start in a good, safe neighborhood," one of three developed by Central Oklahoma Habitat. It will have 146 homes when finished.
Githiri and her sons, 5-year-old Jude and 1-year-old Piaget — and Eli, due May 8 — will get a good start on home ownership.
They received housewarming gifts from longtime Habitat supporters Edmond Board of Realtors, Malarkey Roofing Products, and Whirlpool Corp., and new ones such as Supermercados Morelos, with stores in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Central Oklahoma Habitat's 1,000th house dedication, except for congratulations given by Gov. Kevin Stitt and Mayor David Holt, followed a pattern familiar to the thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters who helped make it a major homebuilder in Oklahoma City, constructing some 50 houses a year. Central Oklahoma Habitat's work in land development and homebuilding puts it in the top 10 of Habitat for Humanity International's 1,200 affiliates.
Local board member Nancy Riddell presented Githiri, who works as a nurse at an assisted-living center, with a Bible. The Rev. Chris Yoder of All Souls' Episcopal Church blessed the new home, board member Carolyn Roberts led the group in a litany of prayer for God's blessing and continued ability to see and serve "those who are in need of decent shelter."
All businesses should support Central Oklahoma Habitat, said Ana Ibarra of Supermercados Morelos as she presented Githiri with a gift to fully stock her pantry.
Stitt thanked the organization and its volunteers and supporters for serving "as the hands and feet of Jesus."
Felton Gililand said she has been asked often whether, when she became chairman, she ever imagined building 1,000 houses.
"Actually, no. If I'd known it was going to be this hard, I might have had second thoughts!" she said to laughter.
To learn more about Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, make a donation, become a corporate sponsor or apply for homeownership, go to yourhabitathome.com.