‘A mighty blessing’

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Thanksgiving has been one Lisa Scott-Hicks will remember for the rest of her life.

Though the devout Christian is admittedly thankful throughout the entire year, she’s especially thankful for spending this Thanksgiving in her new home, built by her own hands and those of volunteers from the community as part of her partnership with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Inside her new living room, safe and warm from the chilly winds and drop in temperatures Saturday afternoon brought, Habitat officials and the Rev. James P. Ashton dedicated the Andrews Drive home along with Scott-Hicks’ friends and family and the community.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “I thank God. It brings a lot of tears to my eyes. As my pastor was saying … it was already in the plan before I was born. So, I just thank God every day, like I said.”

Scott-Hicks’ partnership included educational classes on home ownership and “sweat equity,” actually laboring at the site.

“Nobody has wished for it to come sooner and worked harder than Lisa,” said Habitat Executive Director Jayne Johnson during the dedication ceremony.

“She is truly a deserving recipient of this new home,” said Frances Reid, who attends First Baptist Church with Scott-Hicks. “Sometimes, when we have trials and tribulations, we need a new start. And this can be your new start. Look toward the future and never let the past hold you back.”

JORDAN MILES | HERALD Habitat home recipient Lisa Scott-Hicks, left, embraces Habitat Executive Director Jayne Johnson, congratulating her on her new home on Andrews Drive.

Habitat home recipient Lisa Scott-Hicks, left, embraces Habitat Executive Director Jayne Johnson, congratulating her on her new home on Andrews Drive.

Through her journey and partnership with Habitat of building her new home, Scott-Hicks has faced tragedy and loss. But her faith and giving thanks has been unwavering in spite of that.

“I know she’s smiling down on me,” she said of her mother, who died about a year ago. A little more than a month ago, Scott-Hicks lost her sister.

“I’m saddened they’re not here with me, but I know they’re looking down on me and smiling … I just thank everyone for all their help, support, and I continue to thank God.”

Being able to spend Thanksgiving in her new home is “a mighty blessing,” Scott-Hicks said. “And I do believe this is where the good Lord planned for me to have it finished at this time.”

She also gives thanks to Bill Blackburn, a Habitat volunteer who helped build the home, who died recently.

“I’m going to miss him greatly,” Scott-Hicks said, noting a tree is planted in her front yard in his honor. She called Blackburn her guardian angel.

“What a beautiful opening to the beginning of the rest of your life,” Rev. Ashton, who preaches at First Baptist Church, said during the dedication.

Hope Parijs, Habitat’s construction manager, said she was glad to have the house finished.

“It’s nice to kind of see everything to where she can just obviously move in all her stuff,” she said.

Volunteers from all parts of the community helped make Scott-Hicks’ dream come to fruition, including help from contractors, churches and student groups from both Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University.

“For many, many years, she has given her time, her talents, her resources to others that they might live and perform and go forth,” Rev. Ashton said of Scott-Hicks. “Now, it’s coming back to you. Cast your bread upon the waters. You’re a recipient of all those blessings now, and we’re glad about it.”

Many of the same people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Scott-Hicks’ house in March. The energy-efficient home is just a little smaller than 1,000 square feet and includes two bedrooms and one bathroom.