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Lander Habitat Begins Work on Second Home; Opportunity for Community to Support

Shown left to right during the groundbreaking for Lander Habitat's second home are: Randy Bouknight, vice president for Student Affairs; Ananda Cloud, vice president of operations for Lander Habitat; Jessica Trotter, president of Lander Habitat; the Lander Bearcat; Bryson Bouknight, vice president of building for Lander Habitat; Kathy Ouzts, owner-to-be of the new Lander Habitat home; Jessica Cosentino, Lander first lady; and Dr. Richard Cosentino, president of Lander.

Under a sun-drenched February sky, members of the Lander University chapter of Habitat for Humanity began work on the group's second Habitat home on the Lander campus, moments after a groundbreaking ceremony.

The new 1,100-square-foot Lander Habitat home will have three bedrooms, two full baths, a front porch and a host of appliances. Once the shell of the home is complete, it will be moved to its permanent location in the Kirksey Forest neighborhood, the same area where the group's first Lander Habitat home now stands.

Participating in the groundbreaking was Greenwood resident Kathy Ouzts, who will move into the home once its complete. The mother of four said she was "overwhelmed" and "excited beyond words" about her family's new home.

The impact of the Lander-Greenwood partnership
As she addressed the audience, Lander Habitat President Jessica Trotter, of Greenwood, expressed the impact she has personally felt by being part of a project like Habitat. "The home we built last year is now a forever home with its forever family, and that's a picture of what being a part of the Lander family is all about. I'm so proud to be a Bearcat, and I am proud that we're building another home," she said.

Chad Charles, executive director of the Greenwood chapter of Habitat for Humanity, pointed to the partnership Lander has with the Greenwood community. "We're so grateful for Lander University and for everything it represents," he said. "Among other things, it stands for a commitment to our community and leadership opportunities for its students, faculty and staff. The partnership Lander has with Greenwood has a much more powerful impact on our community than anyone could imagine."

Opportunity for community to support Habitat home construction this Saturday
Community members can contribute to the costs of building the home by supporting or participating in Lander Habitat's 2nd Annual Hustle for Habitat 5K Fun Run this Saturday, Feb. 11, at Lander's Finis Horne Arena.

Registration for the fun run can be made online. Walk-up registration will be available the day of the run but will include a $5 late fee. Check-in will begin at 8:15 a.m., and the run itself will start at 9 a.m.

Habitat home a "dream come true"
In early December, keys to the first Lander Habitat-built home were given to Wendi Andrews and her two children, also in the Kirksey Forest neighborhood. During a dedication for her new home, Andrews called the opportunity to own her home "a dream come true."

Lander Habitat wastes no time in getting work completed
The brainchild of Lander First Lady Jessica Cosentino, Lander Habitat has quickly established itself as a "get it done" organization. Just two weeks into construction of the first Lander Habitat home, volunteer members had already installed a roof, windows, doors and exterior siding.

The accelerated schedule made it possible for subcontractors to complete their specialized work sooner than previously planned, before volunteers returned to install cabinetry and complete work on paint and trim.