Effingham Daily News
Leonard and Betty Ricketts moved into their Mason home in the spring of 1959.
"We lived a lot in that home," Mrs. Ricketts said.
The old house was falling apart around them, but they owned the lot next door. Habitat for Humanity volunteers took care of the rest.
Sunday, the Ricketts celebrated the completion of their new home with a dedication ceremony attended by about 30 people. They're not sure when they're going to move into the new house, though they say the move is likely to be complete within the next month.
"We'll move in here as soon as we can," Mrs. Ricketts said.
Son Reg, who was about a year old when his parents moved into their old house, spent a lot of time helping on his parents' new home.
"I had helped on a couple of Habitat homes in the past," said young Ricketts, a carpenter. "They (his parents) needed this home, but us kids couldn't have done it by ourselves. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened."
The new Ricketts home is the 10th home built by Effingham County Habitat for Humanity in the last 12 years Ñ and the second in Mason. Other Habitat homes have been built in the June Lake subdivision west of Effingham, Dieterich, Beecher City, Heartville, Altamont and Watson. Two homes apiece have been built in June Lake and Dieterich, while the other communities have hosted one Habitat project.
Habitat for Humanity is an international ministry that enables low-income families to own a new home with relatively low house payments. Money from the house payments goes into a fund to finance future Habitat projects.
Larry Lappin, chairman of the Effingham County Habitat building committee, said work on the Ricketts home began Columbus Day weekend with about 70 volunteers.
"We went from the foundation to shingles on the roof," Lappin said. "After that, we started working on the interior."
Lappin said the first Habitat home in Effingham County took 16 months to build. Nowadays, Habitat projects typically take five or six months to complete.
"We've learned who to tap on the shoulder for help," Lappin said.
Lappin said the project cost will include demolition of the old Ricketts home.
As always, a host of local merchants and organizations assisted with the project. Donors and friends for the Ricketts project included Christ Church, New Hope Church, Effingham Assembly of God, Cornerstone Church, and Centenary United Methodist Church, all of Effingham; Bricklayers Local #8, Effingham Builders Supply, Effingham Redi-Mix, Heuerman Brothers Trucking, Integrity Electric, JB Esker Concrete, Mahaffey Backhoe, Mason Civic Center, MCI Concrete, Merz Heating & Cooling, Wente Plumbing, Dave Cochran Earth Work, G&G Gutters, Landfill 33, Effingham Sewer Service and Hoedebecke Flooring.
Lappin said he couldn't say when the next Habitat project would begin. The group owns a lot in Dieterich and is in the process of buying more lots in Mason.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at email@example.com