Last Thanksgiving Mike Farnam, his wife, Renee, and their two children, Jaymz and Sebastian, had more to be thankful for than previous years.
Out of 100 families, the Farnams were selected to be the 15th recipients of a new home through Habitat for Humanity.
"It's been many, many years that we've been on the bottom, and we're finally rising to the top," Mike said. "It feels really good."
Habitat targets families that earn about 70 percent of what the average earned wages are in the area, said president Bill Radtke.
"A lot of people think these homes are free, but they're not free," Radtke said.
Recipients pay for all of the materials used to build their home, but do so interest free. Families must also put in 500 "sweat-equity hours" by participating in the building process, said Radtke, who has been involved with Habitat since its inception on the peninsula 15 years ago.
"It's a hands up, not a hands out," he said.
"(Habitat) is making the community stronger in every way," Renee said. "You can't have a good, strong community if you don't have people that own their own homes."
"We've been struggling for so long and finally things are going in a positive direction," Mike said.
"Once our house is done, I'd be willing to help any other family that I could build their house," he said. "I'll do whatever I can."
Habitat began the building the Farnams' house in June, and Radtke estimated it will be finished sometime in October.
"We want to thank every person that has given any kind of support, not just to our family, but to Habitat in general," Renee said.
Radtke, who has been Habitat's president for the past three years, began as a volunteer and helped build Habitat's first house on the peninsula. Over the years, he said he's been involved in helping 15 families become home owners.
Crew members, consisting of volunteers, construct the houses on land donated by the city, Radtke said.
"I encourage people to come on out and help others out," he said. "Give a hand where it's needed."
Construction on the Farnams' house is every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Volunteers may show up anytime, no prior arrangements are needed.
The building site is on Wildwood Drive in Kenai, one-half mile off of the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai. For more information, call 283-7797.
Mike Nesper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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