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Awarding community builders

The Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity’s (FAHFH) goal of seeking to put God’s love into action is continuing to be met, and this was illustrated in a variety of ways Sunday at the 2018 Golden Hammer Awards held at the Historic Farmville Train Station.

FAHFH Community Outreach Director Sam Rabon described the awards ceremony as “another wonderful event, great turnout. Everybody seemed joyful and celebratory, which is exactly what we want. I really loved hearing from the homeowners in particular and hearing stories from a homeowner over 20 years ago and one of our next homeowners and just hearing those connections.”

He was referring to Pat Baldwin and Tarika Brown.

“Ms. Baldwin is one of the original Habitat homeowners here in Farmville, house No. 2,” Rabon said.

Someone encouraged her to apply for a Habitat home. Describing the process of partnering with Habitat and becoming a homeowner, Baldwin said, “It was like finding religion.”

Baldwin and Brown work with each other and have known each other for a long time, and the encouraged became the encourager.

“Just as (Ms. Baldwin) was encouraged, she also encouraged Tarika to apply for the program,” Rabon said.

“Pat introduced me to Habitat,” Brown said.

Both Baldwin and Brown tried to avoid tears as they told their stories.

At the end of the awards ceremony Rabon summed up the bigger call of the FAHFH as helping to build the Beloved Community, and he thanked the crowd of donors, volunteers, advocates, board members, committee members and concerned citizens in attendance for helping to do that.

“We thank you that one of the ways you’re doing that is by partnering with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity to serve those in need of safe, decent, affordable housing here in Prince Edward, in Buckingham, in Charlotte and in Cumberland.”

Then he provided a synopsis of what building the Beloved Community looks like.

“This is what you have been a part of over the past 18 months,” he said, “… one new construction completed in Buckingham, rehabilitation of an empty home in Charlotte County, a family living there, rehabilitation of an empty home in Buckingham and a family living there, three different home  repairs, our Brush With Kindness program going on in Charlotte County, a rehabilitation of an empty home in Prince Edward County and a family now living there, a new construction in Cumberland County and then of course, as Alanna (Rivera) was mentioning earlier, our campus chapters, which Alanna has been instrumental in helping to start up at Longwood (University) and helping to revive that alongside Susan Smith, one of our past board members, at Hampden-Sydney College.”

“That’s a lot. You’ve been a part of a lot,” Rabon said. “But guess what? It’s not over yet. Take a look at what’s coming up right now: one new construction getting ready to start in Dillwyn any day now, one new construction starting in Cumberland with Tarika’s house as we are preparing to build that, we have a home that we’re working on right now, you saw it in there, the renovations in Prince Edward County that will soon be a home for a family, a new construction in Charlotte County that’s going to be happening, continued home repairs, we have more slated to happen in Charlotte County, and of course again, the campus chapters. There’s things going on in every single one of our counties, builds going on. A lot’s happened over these years, and we want you to be a part of it.”

“This is what’s happened so far — 28 years, 40 homes that have been built or repaired,” he said in conclusion. “What number will we get to at next year’s Golden Hammer? The only way it can keep going up is if we continue to partner.”

Among the 2018 Golden Hammer recipients were several volunteers, including one organization and six individuals: the Fresh Boys Club, Abbygail Souder, Quincy Goodine, Pam Fox, Pauline Stokes, Marc Puckett and Mary Scott.

Two companies received the Golden Hammer Business award: Puckett Funeral Home and Virginia Paving and Sealcoating.

The Golden Hammer Church honor went to Farmville United Methodist Church.

The Wells Fargo Foundation received the Golden Hammer Foundation accolade.

As for the Golden Hammer Gift In Kind recipients, Milligan Custom Cabinetry received recognition in connection to the ReStore, Holman Masonry received it in connection to construction and Venture Investments, LLC received it in connection to land.

The Golden Hammer Civic Organization was the United Way of Prince Edward County.

Mark and Laura French received the Golden Hammer Individual Donor award.

Prince Edward County Public Schools and Fuqua School were the recipients of the Golden Hammer School recognition.

The Golden Hammer Buckingham County Partnership accolade went to the Melvin C. Draft Family Foundation, Michael Timmons received the Golden Hammer Charlotte County Partnership honor, and Patty Pedrick was named the Golden Hammer Cumberland County Partnership award winner.

Four individuals received special recognition for their work done with FAHFH: Damitri Moore, Carl Mullins, Ralph Dunnavant and Don Romaine.