There was snow on the outside on Saturday, but, unlike at their last home, none came in under the front door of Josh and Noreen Miller’s new home in Wolcottville. The Miller family, the twenty-fourth in the new home program of LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity, was delighted to offer tours to the folks who attended the dedication ceremony for their new home on Saturday.
This home was a resold home, and Josh and Noreen were on hand for every step of the home-readying process: power-washing the outside, repairing the screens, installation of new appliances, plumbing fixes, carpeting several rooms, and painting the interior. Work on these projects formed the backbone of their sweat equity hours.
But, they served in other roles as well in their effort to accrue 125 hours each: working in the cook tent at the annual fund-raising auction, preparing bulk mailings, doing construction work on the recent NRI home in Howe, and working on a “Brush with Kindness” project. In fact, Josh noted, “I was so happy to work with Noreen on construction projects. We had never done anything like that before.” Noreen added, “I learned to do things I had never done before; I can install insulation.”
The Millers were encouraged in the process by Noreen’s parents who live in Goshen. As long-time LaGrange residents, they had volunteered during previous LCHFH auctions, and it was at their suggestion that the Millers, both Westview High School alumni, applied to partner with the organization.
What do the Millers appreciate most about their new home? The room to spread out. The older two children have their own rooms. Twenty-seven people ate Christmas dinner at their home; the children hung out in the “basement,” a 4’ crawl space accessible by a trap door. “We have lots of storage down there, as well as in the storage shed, and the closets in the home,” Noreen pointed out. And, then, there’s the garbage disposal and dishwasher. Yes, there’s plenty to like here.
There will be one change, however, and that is the garden. Last year, the Millers tended a ½-acre garden, while their new home had a very small garden space. “I’m thinking we may grow tomatoes in baskets this summer,” Josh suggested. “And, space-grabbing crops will have to go, now that we live in town . . . but we will enlarge the current garden as much as possible.”
Of course, that’s a long way off. “When we were snowed in three weeks ago,” Noreen laughed, “we felt quite at home here.” For now, the snow is outside, and the Miller family is snug and warm inside.