STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Rev. George Perry knows how to swing a hammer and drive in a nail. He did it countless times building dog houses, storage rooms, and other projects. But last fall, as he pulled back his hammer to drive the first nail into what would become his and his family’s home, Perry’s hammer skills seemed to escape him.
“I know how to swing a hammer and hit the nail good,” he said, “but I couldn’t hit the nail well enough. It kept bending on me. I had the shakes, the nervousness from being able to drive it, knowing that was the beginning of the home I will be staying in.”
He recalled that first swing of the hammer as he and his family — wife Linda and 12-year-old daughter Ezmarel — began settling into their new home on Avenue M in Marble Falls. The home is one of the latest Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity projects.
And a quick scan of the Perrys’ new house shows the family is settling in nicely. In fact, it’s beginning to look, and feel, like a home.
“I’m grateful for everything and everyone who walked in and everyone who had a part,” said the St. Frederick Baptist Church pastor. “Our treasures are stored up in heaven, but I feel like I got a treasure right now.”
The house isn’t a gift from Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity. Qualified families must work a set number of volunteer hours helping to build another family’s Habitat home before construction begins on their house. Recipient families must also work on their own home.
Habitat for Humanity builds the low-cost homes and offers an interest-free mortgage to the family.
The Perrys’ home was ready for them to move into in April, but with Easter season being so busy for the reverend and his family, they opted to hold off until May. It wasn’t easy, as Ezmarel couldn’t wait to get into the new home. In the weeks leading up to it, the reverend said his daughter constantly asked when they were going to move.
By May 7, the Perrys were settling in. Ezmarel was probably the most excited, and quickly pointed out the difference between living in an apartment and living in a house.
“There’s no noise, no banging on the walls,” she said.
The house included new kitchen appliances, and the Perrys already had a washer and dryer. Friends at St. Frederick’s and First Baptist Church of Marble Falls gave housewarming presents based off a wish list the family provided.
The Perrys also gave items they weren’t going to be taking with them to those who needed them so they could be a blessing to others.
Construction on the house began in the fall of 2018, a happy moment for the reverend and his family. He was included in making many decisions for the look of the house and how it flowed.
George Perry grinned as he recalled driving in that first nail more than seven months ago. Now, as he walked through his and his family’s new house, he summed up how the Perry home looked.
“It’s beautiful,” he said.
Check out the Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity website for more information on the process or to volunteer.
To find more ways to volunteer in your community, check out the Highland Lakes Volunteer Guide.