PORT ANGELES — Carol Diewold gushed with effervescent emotion as Lou Templeton handed her the keys to her new home.
“Ooo wee!” Diewold exclaimed.
Diewold, 55, was standing in front of a crowd of about 90 volunteers in a Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony in the driveway of her home at 1005 Village Place, in the Peninsula Village development just south of the Peninsula Golf Club on Lindberg Drive — under sunny skies that seemed to capture the moment.
“I just can’t thank you all enough,” Diewold told the audience.
“You have inspired me spiritually, and it’s just overwhelming. I didn’t know people gave so much of themselves until I was introduced to Habit for Humanity.”
21 Clallam homes built
Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County has built 21 homes — five in the past year — for people in need.
(Habitat’s counterpart in East Jefferson County has built homes in the past few years on six residential lots of Port Townsend, and earlier this year received a $60,000 community development block grant to cover the paving of sections of 20th and 21st streets to reach those lots.)
Families for the homes are picked based on ability to make a mortgage payment, need and willingness to partner with the organization.
Diewold, for example, put several hundreds of hours of sweat equity into her three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, and she also helped build three other Habitat homes in the Port Angeles area.
Houses are sold at cost, which is relatively cheap because of the volunteers who donate their time and resources.
Habit for Humanity holds the mortgage and the owner pays it back with no interest, explained Jim Taft, Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County board chairman.
“It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up,” Taft said.
Thrivent Builds funded three-quarters of the cost of Diewold’s house.
The rest is funded by donations. Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran Church and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church each put its resources into the construction project.
Diewold, 55, will live in the 1,200-square-foot home with her daughter, Cassidy, 13.
She moved to the Port Angeles area about 14 years ago from northern California.
Owners are paired with a Habitat for Humanity family partner — in Diewold’s case it was Templeton — who help guide them through the process.
“I met Carolyn about two years ago, and I just found out she prefers to be Carol,” Templeton joked.
“Carol and Cassidy, I know you are happy, but feast your eyes on all the smiles out there. This is a happy crowd.”
Templeton then presented Carol Diewold with a Bible and the keys to her new home.
Workers broke ground on Diewold’s home in May. A frame was up by June. The house was completed early this month, Taft said.
Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County worked on the house on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Lutheran churches sent volunteers to the construction site on Thursdays and Fridays.
Five project leaders directed the volunteers on the various tasks.
“I’m blessed,” Diewold said after the dedication ceremony. “Blessed is the only word that can describe it.”
Worldwide, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 300,000 homes.
“I never knew this day was going to happen, and all I can say is thanks,” Cassidy said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected] dailynews.com.