The day Desinee Lawson and her two children, 9-year-old Elijah and 3-year-old Emoree, have longed for finally arrived last week. Lawson received the keys to her new home, built with the helpful hands of volunteers with the Magic City Chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO).
“God is an on-time God, and He knew how badly I needed this home for me and my kids,” said Lawson, noting the lease on her apartment had ended only days earlier. “I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do, but God, I’m going to trust you.’ When I got the news that my house would be built in two weeks, it was just perfect. I want to thank the Alabama Power Service Organization and Habitat for Humanity for making this possible. I’m excited to be able to afford this home.”
APSO volunteers gathered with the Lawson family in Pleasant Grove on Friday afternoon for the home’s dedication. It is the 25th Habitat for Humanity home built by the APSO Magic City Chapter.
Construction began on Oct. 24, and Lawson worked alongside the more than 100 volunteers who turned out to build the three-bedroom, two-bath home. The volunteers wielded hammers, paintbrushes and other tools, raising the home from the ground in only 10 days, said Anna Chandler, Magic City APSO president and Southern Company accountant.
“Seeing Desinee’s excitement as she has watched the house come together has been so much fun,” said Chandler, who added that it was her her first Habitat project. “It has also been really rewarding to learn how to build a house. Habitat has been very helpful and patient in working with us.”
Chandler said the project was a team effort, with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and volunteers from Alabama Power’s Plant Miller joining forces with the APSO Magic City Chapter on the project.
“Alabama Power management in Generation, Distribution and Transmission has been absolutely supportive and willing to allow employees to participate, and we really appreciate that,” said Keith Gilliland, assistant business manager, IBEW System Council U-19. “We’re proud to work for a company that allows its employees to take time to volunteer in the community.”
Southern Company Electrical Design Manager Paul Taylor and his team worked on the house as part of a departmental community service effort.
“I’m a servant leader,” said Taylor. “Here, I was able to serve a family who is getting a new home. And not only that, it means the world to me to have my team out here with me this week, helping to serve this family who is getting a new home to live in.”
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham builds and repairs homes in partnership with low-to moderate-income families in Jefferson, Shelby, Walker and St. Clair counties. It puts affordable housing within reach of those who cannot afford a home under other circumstances.
The homes are not free. Qualified families are required to repay a no-interest mortgage, complete 300 hours of sweat equity on their house or another Habitat home and 20 hours of home ownership education workshops.
The APSO Magic City Chapter has teamed with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham to build homes since 1998.
Charles Moore, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham president and CEO, welcomed the Lawsons to their new home during the dedication ceremony.
“You couldn’t have had a better sponsor,” Moore told Lawson. “The Alabama Power Service Organization has been with us so long. Thank you to APSO for being such a great partner and sponsor, and for the good work you do outside of Habitat as well.”
Myla Calhoun, vice president of Alabama Power’s Birmingham Division, said the company appreciates the APSO volunteers and their commitment to helping families like the Lawsons realize their dream of owning a home. APSO is a nonprofit volunteer organization made up of Alabama Power, Southern Nuclear, Southern Linc and Southern Company Services employees and their families. There are nine APSO chapters across the state, helping support a broad spectrum of nonprofit and community organizations.
“It’s always heartwarming to see a Habitat home completed and the keys handed over to the new homeowner,” Calhoun said. “This one is special because it’s the 25th build for APSO’s Magic City Chapter, and it highlights Alabama Power’s mission to elevate the state of Alabama. It makes me extremely proud for all involved.”
To learn more about the good works of Alabama Power employees and retirees, visit powerogood.com and click “Volunteers.”