You couldn’t blame Jennifer Wyms if she became emotional Friday evening.
After all, she received the keys to her new home in a River City Habitat for Humanity ceremony. The event was the culmination of 14 months of work for Wyms.
A state employee, Wyms was selected as a new homeowner in April 2021. Habitat for Humanity homebuyers are required to put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity in their own homes and the homes of other buyers. They are also required to take classes on finances and responsibility of home ownership. Once the house is complete, the new homeowner is able to buy the home at zero interest.
But shortly after learning she was in the program, Wyms, who has a teenage daughter, Alyssa, lost her mother to COVID-19. About two weeks later, she lost her father to the disease.
It has been hard work for her, said Susan Cook-Williams, executive director of River City Habitat for Humanity.
“She worked through it. Except for that short period, she never stopped smiling,” Cook-Williams said. “She’s got family around her to support her.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity in Jefferson City. More details are soon to come, but the organization is to celebrate the milestone Oct. 3 — World Habitat Day.
The 125th home the nonprofit has sold in Jefferson City, the house at 902 Jackson St., is an effort that deserves attention. It is a Rotary Club build. Each of the local Rotary Clubs took weekends and volunteered to help construct it. They also hosted fundraisers to financially sponsor the build. Rotary Clubs donated about $50,000 to the project.
There’s another piece to this story.
The previous owner of the property on which the new house stands purchased the property in 2019. She closed on the house and moved in to spend her first night in the house May 22. That night, shortly before midnight, a tornado raged through the community, damaging and destroying hundreds of homes, including the house at 902 Jackson St. Insurance paid the previous owner of the property for the damage, and she donated the property to Habitat for Humanity.
The nonprofit has built two new homes at the site, and has plans for a third, facing Hickory Street.