MANCHESTER — Shannon Gordon and his three boys had their brand new home blessed by the Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity (BAHfH) on Sunday in Manchester after building a house two years ago that went to a different family.
This is the 20th house built by the BAHfH since 1997 and it was finally awarded to Gordon after pushing through for a second time to reapply for a home and help build it. He wishes to continue to serve the community with helping to build homes and hopes that his sons will follow in his footsteps.
"We had never known anyone who was so dedicated to this undertaking as Shannon," Monica Knorr, president of the board of directors said. "He put in more hours of sweat equity than anyone else and the kids were involved and raised some money at school."
The Castleton State University Habitat for Humanity club made three trips this year to the Gordon house to volunteer. The club was also a part of building the six other homes on Jennifer Lane. About five or six students would come on Saturdays to be challenged and trusted by the site supervisor to do whatever task was assigned to them.
"They taught us everything," senior Kalie Dunican said.
"You start at the bottom and work up," junior Molly Johnson said. "We would reserve the whole day and just try to get as many people as possible to come up."
Students who helped dedicate the Gordon home on Sunday included Dunican, Johnson, senior Terry O'Callaghan, junior Lisa McDonald, senior Anthony Campanelli and junior Jeff Rose.
"It was always a surprise when we got here," O'Callaghan said.
"The volunteers really confide in the students and have faith that they have a good team of people," Dunican said. "There's no other program like that."
"Shannon never gave up on his dream," BAHfH Executive Director Susan Sommer said. "He is the epitome of determination. When he had to step back, he never gave up on his dream. The reason we're here today is because of his determination."
Just like other Habitat homes, the Gorgon home is efficient with the foundation and floor layers filled with insulation, allowing people to walk barefoot on the hardwood floors all year long without getting cold. The foundation was structured to keep heat on each level appropriately and inside the house.
Ben, Bailey and Camden Gordon were given a photo album filled with shots from the time line of when their home was being built. The Gordons were also given a birdhouse replica of their home, a basket of cleaning supplies and a donated box of books and puzzles from Anita Duch of the Rutland Free Library.
"It's a second family now. It's been a long time coming. It's not our first home that we built and I have a feeling it's not going to be our last. I enjoy it a lot," Gordon said. "A good education — you guys made that possible for my children."
Gordon first applied to be a homebuyer in 2013 and then again on March 15, 2015. Sommer said that in his second application he wrote "It's been a long road coming to Manchester where I've always wanted to build my own home for my family."
Jennifer Lane will get an eighth house built by the BAHfH this year and is currently looking for families to apply to live in Manchester or Bennington. Sommer said the organization worked with the town of Manchester to bring in affordable housing and was granted with a town permit in 2009 to develop 22 lots on Jennifer Lane. The first house was built in 2011.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.