A 14-year employee of Walmart and her 7-year-old daughter were set to spend their first night in their new Habitat for Humanity home Friday after a large group gathered to dedicate the house.

Located in the Hope Crossing neighborhood off S.C. 905 near Conway, the home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a family room with a dining area, kitchen, a small patio in back and a front porch.

New homeowner Kristy Watts couldn’t put her finger on any one thing she liked best about her new home that she worked one year to earn.

“It’s the house itself. The whole home,” she said.

She expects the new house and becoming a homeowner to result in a new life for her and her daughter, Rejanai.

“I love it. This is awesome,” she said. “I love, love, love it. I am so grateful.”

Watts’ home is the ninth to be completed in Hope Crossing, with one still under construction, and it’s Horry County Habitat for Humanity’s 150th home.

In addition to their new home, the duo received a 65-inch television, a $300 gift certificate to help fill the kitchen with food and a gift card to Lowe’s to make sure they have everything they need to outfit their new home.

Watts and Rejanai were both presented handmade quilts, as are all Habitat homeowners.

Former Habitat executive director Carla Schuessler said, “I see the smiles on everyone’s faces. I can see them through your masks.”

Schuessler said she thinks the house, sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, that has done so much for Habitat, is a good fit for this family.

The group, gathered for the dedication at lunchtime Friday, included family, people working to earn Habitat homes, Hope Crossing neighbors, Habitat staff and former staff and volunteers, who contributed to the home’s cost and did everything from swing hammers to pour cement and plant shrubs to create a cozy home.

Because Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, the dedication included prayer and Bible reading.

One verse they said particularly applied to the situation is I Corinthians 15:58 that says, Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Habitat personnel pointed out that the organization does not give away homes. New homeowners must put in “sweat equity” to help earn their homes and then make monthly payments to keep them. However, due to the help of countless sponsors and volunteers, the homes are more affordable than traditional homes.

“I just want to thank the Lord,” Watts told the group. “Sometimes I just wanted to give up, but I kept on. I want to thank God Almighty for blessing me…and also thank my family…If I didn’t know which way to go, you always knew.”

She thanked Habitat for believing in her and believing that she could be a homeowner.

“It’s so good to have the love from this Habitat family,” she said.

To everyone who helped with the building project, she said, “You didn't have to do it. You did not have to…I did not know there were so many good people in the world…I appreciate y’all for being here for me.”

Following tradition, Habitat’s director of family services Michelle Morgan presented Watts with a Bible.

Also participating in the dedication were Essie Bromell, pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, who read II Samuel 7:29 and Jeremiah 29:11, Marshal Campbell, who sang an inspirational a cappella solo and Lexi Chase with Chase Signature Homes with the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, who presented Watts the keys to her new home.

Guests then toured the new home and enjoyed chicken bog and cookies.

According to the program handed out at the dedication, Kristy says that Rejanai is her motivation and strength to keep going and pushing forward. She says she wants Rejanai to be able to enjoy her childhood and play in her own yard.

Sponsors of the home were Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, Wells Fargo and Waccamaw HOME Consortium.

Groups that provided money and in-kind donations included Berkshire Hathaway, Century 21, Chase Signature Homes, Clemmons Law Firm, Coastline Heating & Cooling, CRG Companies, Dunes Realty, Movement Mortgage and U.S. Lawns.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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