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CHARLESTON -- Sunnie Butler gained a new home and an expanded circle of friends this year through her work with Coles County Habitat for Humanity.

Butler applied to Habitat in February for a home for her and her family and then worked alongside this nonprofit group’s volunteers to renovate a house at 1414 Jackson Ave. to be her family’s home. Habitat held a house blessing for the finished product Saturday morning and presented the keys to Butler.

“We are about to hand over the keys and part of a new life for someone we care very much about,” said family support Chairwoman Susan Smith at the beginning of the ceremony, attended by approximately 30 supporters.

The renovated three-bedroom house is beautiful, Butler said, adding that she is particularly fond of the kitchen. She said she is excited about moving into her new home, which also offers a living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, and two full bathrooms.

Butler said Habitat renovated the house to meet the needs of her and her children -- Kelsie, 5; Kai, 9; and Kayden, 14. Butler said she and her friends enjoyed working with the Habitat volunteers, who donated their time every Wednesday and Saturday this summer and put in extra hours on additional days to complete the renovation.

“I got to know the Habitat family. It was wonderful to make a new host of friends. They are just amazing people,” Butler said.

In addition to working on her home, Butler helped Habitat with one of its other home projects for people in need and helped staff the chapter’s ReStore fundraising resale shop in Charleston. She is set to continue serving with Habitat.

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Habitat board President Ida Cockrum said the chapter’s volunteers have enjoyed working with Butler, getting to know her and her family, and being part of her becoming a Habitat homeowner.

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“You have given us volunteers a gift here that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives,” Cockrum said.

Habitat volunteers constructed the house at 1414 Jackson Ave. three years ago in cooperation with a previous partner family and the chapter repurchased the house earlier this year for reuse.

Smith said the renovation is the 34th Habitat home project in the local chapter’s 25-year history and more projects are being planned. She said volunteers are always welcome.

“We are happy to put you to work somewhere in some capacity,” Smith said.

More information is available by calling Habitat at 217-348-7063.

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Contact Stroud at rstroud@jg-tc.com or 217-238-6861.

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