Hard work paid off for Jessica Agauhedionda and her family as they received the keys for their new home thanks to help from Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity (UYVH), their sponsors and volunteers.
Many times sponsors and volunteers are one in the same, such as the case of Wells Fargo branch manager Patricia Billings, who came to the Agauhedionda home dedication on Sunday from the Wilkes County area.
“This is awesome,” said Billings. “They’ve done so much.”
Billings and a team of Wells Fargo employees had been to the property on Northwood Drive in Elkin several times to physically assist.
“What I thought was really cool was coming here at the very beginning when it was not much and then being part of the painting, the cleaning, and then coming back to see more of it completed,” said Billings, “and then we were part of the cleanup as well. Pulling nails out of the floor to then coming back and seeing all of the things inside and the bathrooms all fixed and all the fixtures up, it’s just so different. It’s really awesome.”
Wells Fargo has been an active partner of UYVH for several years contributing funds as well as free labor.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Habitat,” said Billings, revealing that Wells Fargo has contributed about $230,000 in funding over the past 10 years.
“We can work with Habitat and get to provide for the families,” said Billings, “and what habitat does to help families have stability and a community.”
UYVH also helps the community as pointed out by Elkin Mayor Sam Bishop as he welcomed the family to Elkin from their previous residence in Ronda.
“This is another fine example of the great things that we do here in Elkin,” said Bishop, “not only are we getting new citizens but we rehabilitated a property to make the area look better and improve our values.”
The property had previously been a UYVH home that was reclaimed by the organization.
“We do all of that same kind of bank due-diligence stuff to make to make sure that people are in a financial position to become home owners,” said UYVH Director Claire Sellars.
“We tend to think you haven’t done anybody any favors if you sell them a house and they can’t keep it.”
However, occasionally things don’t work out as expected as with the case of the property on Northwood Drive, which was completely rebuilt for the Agauhedionda family who has exhibited the dedication home ownership requires.
“Everything in this house is new except for the siding and the foundation,” said Sellars, noting several donations toward the structure including J.K. Canter Construction, Campbell Roofing and Larson Doors.
“Whirlpool donates a stove and a refrigerator to every single house Habitat house built in the country,” said Sellars. “That’s really impressive.”
Also, impressive was the outpouring of support from the community including cleaning supplies gathered through Kiilani Brown’s senior project a quilt from Foothills Quilters and a loaded pantry.
“I know in my adult life moving one of the most overwhelming thing is to open up an empty pantry and think about filling it with all the staples you need,” said Sherry Berman, Pack The Pantry organizer.
With assistance from First Baptist Church of Elkin, Christ Lutheran Church and the Red Hatters Club, the Agauhedionda family had a full pantry before signing the documents for their home on Friday, which will be their first night in their new house.
Although a lot of hard work went into getting to the dedication including fundraising through the Habitat Hammer 5K, local Rotary clubs and the ReStore as well as the building hours of volunteer work and paperwork done by Sellars and Tom Bauguess, the Agauhedionda may have worked hardest of all.
Enrique Agauhedionda travels for his job at Lowe’s when not helping to take care of Zack Santos (10), Allison (8), Kasey (7), and Adam (6) while Jessica has been working on nursing certification.
Jessica worked for just more than five years as a CNA before returning to school in 2016.
“I worked for a year and got my LPN, then I went straight back and I just graduated with my RN this May 10,” said the working student who will take boards June 18.
“It was hard work,” said Jessica, crediting cooperation with her husband for making it possible.
Jessica also gave thanks to UYVH, the donors, volunteers and the community.
“There was a lot of times that I wanted to give up because I had a lot going on,” said a tearful Jessica. “I was going to school and trying to get through what I was going through and a lot of stuff to take care of, but all the encouraging words [are what helped us] and we made it.”
The continued support of the community was evident in the blessings bestowed through the invocation by Justin Bell, “Hymn of Thanksgiving” performed by Jerry Fugate, and Jodey Bewley, who asked that God, “would bless this home in such a way that even the homes that surround it would know that your hand is upon this place.”
“I think it’s important to be a part of [UYVH] and seeing the end result and that it’s for the good for the local families here in the area,” said Billings.
“Of course we didn’t build this house by ourselves. It took a whole lot of people,” said Sellars. “It takes donors and it takes volunteers and it takes a community.”
For more information on becoming a partner or volunteer with Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat or to make a donation, go to www.uyvhabitat.org.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.