It’s been some time coming, but Cassandra Jones is in her home for Christmas.
The brick home with its bright red door is in Tuscaloosa’s West End. Jones, a child abuse prevention educator for local public schools, was approved for the home in 2019, but the project took longer than estimated because of restrictions on volunteer labor caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homeowners are required to contribute 250 hours of labor to Habitat projects to qualify, but Jones put in more than 300 hours, often alongside her mother and daughter, according to a report in The Tuscaloosa News.
Mark Crews, vice president of Alabama Power’s Western Division, was among those who joined Jones at the ribbon-cutting. Crews was part of a crew of area business leaders who helped with the home’s construction one day in October during the annual Habitat “CEO Build” event.
“It was truly special to be a part of the home dedication for Ms. Jones, just in time for the holidays,” Crews said. “She is so deserving and she put in a tremendous amount of work, along with the community, to make this possible.
“I am grateful that we were able to support this project through the Alabama Power Foundation, as well as by participating in the CEO Build to help complete the home,” Crews added. “This was a wonderful opportunity for us to be a part of, and share in, with other members of the Tuscaloosa community.”
The home is the second one to be built as a part of Operation Transformation, a project to create a new neighborhood of 40 homes while using the building sites as training grounds to teach construction skills to Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy (TCTA) students.
Volunteers from the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance also played a major role in the home’s construction.
Ellen Potts, Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa executive director, was all smiles as she handed Jones the keys to the new home. Guests then toured the home, with Jones leading the way.
Since the April 27, 2011, tornado that devastated portions of the city, Habitat for Tuscaloosa has built nearly 90 new homes and repaired more than 400 existing homes, mostly with volunteer support.
“We are grateful to the Alabama Power Foundation and generous corporate supporters who make all of this possible. Together, we can build a better Tuscaloosa County,” Potter said following October’s CEO Build.
Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa is seeking additional support for Operation Transformation. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to donate to the initiative, click here.
To learn more about how the Alabama Power Foundation and Alabama Power employee volunteers work to improve quality of life in the state, click here.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)