Freda Dixon received the keys to her house in the Stevens Creek subdivision during a ceremony Sunday.
CLEARATER — Throughout Sunday’s dedication ceremony, which saw numerous civic and business leaders hand her everything from her first piece of mail to the keys to her new home, Freda Dixon remained calm and composed.
For months, the single mom had worked hard to fulfill Habitat for Humanity’s requirements of its future homeowners, taking classes and putting in the necessary hours on the build site, with memories of her late mother providing constant companionship and guidance.
But shortly after stepping inside her house, which was built in one week as part of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County’s annual Blitz Build program, Dixon was overcome with emotion, and she unleashed a torrent of tears as the realization of what was happening washed over her.
“It was very overwhelming, especially the stuff with my mom,” she explained afterward. “We went to Red Lobster last night for her birthday, which was her favorite restaurant, so between dealing with that and coming here today, it just all spilled over in there.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy, blessed. I’m grateful and I’m stable. Stability!”
The dedication was the culmination of months of preparation and work not only for Dixon and her daughter, Shayla, but also for Habitat officials and hundreds of volunteers.
More than 300 people worked on the Blitz Build project, which this year encompassed not one but two homes in the organization’s Stevens Creek subdivision off Betty Lane in Clearwater.
The second home, which was partially built during the event for the Hubbard-Lapos family, is sponsored by Lokey Automotive Group. The house is about 75 percent complete. Due to medical circumstances, family members could not participate in the Blitz Build; therefore, the remaining work will be completed later in the spring.
The Dixon home was the 292nd constructed by Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas County, a feat that interim director Ron Spoor said couldn’t have been accomplished without the hard work of everyone involved with the nonprofit organization.
“The amazing thing about Habitat is just the multitude of people that really make Habitat possible,” he said. “Habitat’s success is a gift from God made possible by millions of people all around the world and thousands of people here in Pinellas County.
“There are more than 100 people here today to celebrate and over 300 who worked on this project, proving that Habitat truly is a community partnership.”
Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, too, mentioned how Habitat projects not only provide homes for deserving families, but also help bring the community together.
“Hats off to Habitat for Humanity, because they give people a house and do such a good job with the community support that it receives,” he said after the ceremony.
“This is what Clearwater is. It’s a community of neighborhoods that work together, that pull together, no matter where you are, and no matter who you are. And that’s what the message is all about.”