COLUMBIA — On a quiet street at the corner of Creasy Springs Road and Proctor Drive, Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity dedicated on Saturday the 100th home the organization has built in Columbia.
Blue and green balloons tied to a mailbox blew in the breeze outside the home with gray siding and maroon shutters as Habitat for Humanity representatives, City Councilman Jason Thornhill and home recipient Salih Mehmedovic spoke about the significance of 100 homes being constructed locally and home ownership.
Thornhill, who previously served on the board of directors for Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, said the day celebrated the pride that comes with home ownership.
“It’s a good day for Columbia to see the 100th house,” Thornhill said.
Richard King, one of the first Habitat for Humanity home recipients in Columbia, spoke about how receiving a home was the beginning of starting a new life.
“Habitat was a growing process,” King said. “It was a kick-start for me.”
Through the translation of his son-in-law, Senad Music, Mehmedovic said how thankful he and his family were to receive a home.
“I am so grateful to Habitat because they gave me a chance to be a homeowner," Mehmedovic said in his speech. "I don’t think I could own otherwise, and that is somewhat of the American dream."
The Mehmedovic family came to America as refugees from Bosnia in January 2002.
“In the beginning it was so hard because of the language difficulty, but after a year I learned some English, and it is better,” Mehmedovic said.
Mehmedovic owned a home in Bosnia, so he said he is not worried about maintaining his first home in America.
“There is no problem,” he said. “Cutting grass and doing all of these things is normal for people to do.”
Music added that Mehmedovic has family in Columbia, which provides a support system.
Mehmedovic will live in the new home with his wife, Razija, and 18-year-old son, Armin.
Frank Rezabek, a member of the Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity day crew that built the Mehmedovic home, said that while working on the 100th home was important, it was no different than any home the crew has helped construct.
“I don’t think it made a difference if it was the 100th home or any home; we are just trying to give back,” Rezabek said.
Home recipients must work from 250 to 350 “sweat equity” hours to help build their houses. During this time, Rezabek said the Mehmedovic family worked with the day crew and learned skills along the way.
“There’s nothing free about this. These folks work very hard to own their homes,” said Scott Maledy, Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity president.