BAINBRIDGE -- It has been a dream come true for Lori Wittig.
The Bainbridge Elementary instructional assistant has been selected for a Habitat for Humanity house -- the first one to be built in Bainbridge.
"There are no words to express my gratitude," said Lori.
She and her two children, 13-year-old Alex and 10-year-old Terran, are ready to make a now empty lot at the corner of Third and South streets into their home. The trio has been living in a rented house, where Alex's bedroom is technically a dining room.
"I am most looking forward to having my own room," Alex said with a beaming smile.
As for her brother, Terran has already scoped out good climbing trees on the new property. Lori is excited to have a walk-in closet and her very own bathroom in her bedroom.
"I'm ready to make it my home," she said. "I can't wait to hang pictures on the walls and have a garden."
Construction will begin on the three-bedroom, two-bath house in July. And because of volunteer labor and some donated materials, the price of the house is reduced.
"Lori will put in 400 hours of sweat equity," said Ron Price with Habitat.
In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (or sweat equity) into building their Habitat house. The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to provide affordable housing for those in need.
"Lori met all the criteria," said Tim Matthews, member of the Habitat family selection committee. "She was a good candidate and choice."
The local Habitat affiliate's family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan.
"Lori is responsible and sincere," said Matthews. "She takes pride in all she does."
Although Lori never dreamed she would have the opportunity to own her own home, she still took the chance. The dream started with an e-mail from Price to everyone in the North Putnam School Corporation asking if there was anyone in need of a Habitat house.
"I thought it was a long shot," said Lori.
She applied anyway. When Lori learned she had been selected for Putnam County's 20th Habitat for Humanity house, she rushed to her best friend Susan Coulter's house.
"We started jumping around like little girls," Lori said of the surreal moment.
Habitat for Humanity has been building approximately one house per year here in Putnam County. The program has built more than 350,000 houses around the world and provided more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities with safe, decent and affordable housing.
"There has been real excitement about this in Bainbridge," said Price. "We have already had many offers to help."
To volunteer with Habitat or for more information, call the Greencastle office at 653-5360.