April 22, 2010 (written by William J. Booher, INDY STAR)
A single mother of three boys, Tami Koehl hammered nails at a home construction site in Greenwood, building a new beginning for her family.
Koehl, 34, an infant program coordinator for a child-care center on Indianapolis' Southeastside, worked April 16 among a couple dozen newfound friends.
The volunteer workers got busy on the opening day of construction of the first Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County home to be built in Greenwood.
The construction also brings new life to a home site of both happiness and sadness in years past.
"I'm so excited. I've met so many new people," Koehl said at what will become the home for her and sons Arthur, 12; Jaylen, 10; and Theodore, 7, in a home-dedication ceremony set for June 26.
Volunteer work will continue on Fridays and Saturdays into June to construct the four-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath ranch house at 615 Sunset Blvd.
Koehl said she and her sons are cramped living in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Greenwood. So, she obtained information that she and her sons could qualify as a partner family with Habitat for Humanity for a new home.
Rhett Cecil, 38, executive director for Habitat's Johnson County office, said she met the requirements and will obtain ownership of the home with a $70,000 no-profit, no-interest 20-year mortgage.
Koehl must put in 300 sweat-equity hours, some of it on her home construction, on other Habitat projects and in attending home-ownership-related workshops. Undaunted, she said, "I'm loving it."
The building site is on a treed lot of one-third of an acre in a well-kept neighborhood of ranch homes with sizable yards and stately trees, a short distance southwest of U.S. 31 and Fry Road.
Cecil said a relative of the couple who used to live in a home there donated the lot to Habitat.
Mark and Sandra Springer used to live in a home there and were pleasant neighbors, said Deena Wheat, 56, who lives across the street.
The Springers' lives, however, were shattered a few years ago. Sandra died at age 39 in her home, when it caught fire in December 2006. Her husband died two years earlier at 47 of injuries suffered in a Greenwood traffic crash.
"It kind of brings life back," Wheat said of the Habitat home construction. "I think it's great, I do. Everybody's pretty welcoming to it."
Cecil said two shifts with 20 volunteers each work on Fridays and Saturdays.
This project is the seventh home construction since the county's Habitat branch was established in June 2006, Cecil said, and the first to have a corporate sponsorship -- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage's Greenwood office.
Wells Fargo is providing volunteer workers and paying for supplies, Cecil said. Other volunteers include members of area churches of several denominations: Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists.
Habitat has built five homes in Franklin and one in Edinburgh. Cecil said plans are to build a home in Franklin this year and one each in Edinburgh, Franklin, and Greenwood next year.
*This article was written by Star reporter William Booher at (317) 444-2706 ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Both pictures on this page were taken by Gary Moore on the Indy Star.