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Home for the holidays

Habitat for Humanity pulls off surprise for new homeowner

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Karen Cobb, her two young daughters, Ashlyn Grace, 10, and Linda-Lu, 4, joined Wayne Weaver, Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury COO, on Saturday afternoon for a limousine ride.

As far as Cobb knew, she and her girls were headed to tour a model of the Habitat for Humanity house that Goodall Homes would be building for the Cobbs.

It’s very likely that they also thought this was a rather extravagant ride for the anticipated occasion.

Upon their arrival at the subdivision, Dan Stumpf, president of Goodall Homes’ Nashville South Division, joined them in the limo and guided them to the “model home.”

As the limousine slowed to a stop in front of a corner house in the Willow Crest subdivision in Fairview, Weaver and Stumpf informed Cobb this was not a model house, but it was her home — her very own three-bedroom, two-bath, handicap-accessible, fully furnished, move-in ready home.

Shocked and shaking as she emerged from the limousine, Cobb alternately hugged Weaver and Stumpf and her children. Speechless for several minutes, her expression and hugs said it all.

Cobb began the process of purchasing a Habitat for Humanity home two years ago. She attended the mandatory classes, got her finances in order, maintained a stable income and completed her 200 hours of sweat equity by working on other Habitat houses.

The onset of the coronavirus in March 2020 temporarily stopped work on any new construction Habitat had planned and dashed Cobb’s hope for a house anytime soon. 

But something had already begun churning in the background.

A Goodall Homes team had tackled a critical repair project in 2019. The team repaired windows in the Franklin home of a retired school teacher. It ended up doing more than the windows, also fixing floors and sprucing up landscaping. By the end of the day, the team was hooked.

“When we were planning for 2020, we asked the team, ‘Do we want a bigger partnership with Habitat for Humanity?’ Everyone said yes,” Stumpf said.

A partnership was planted.

Stumpf said that Bob Goodall, the company’s president, has a heart for giving back.

 “He’s involved with Second Harvest, the Sumner County Food Bank, Finally Home,” Stumpf said. “We try to work with someone who has a heart. This is where our heart is.”

On Aug. 14, with all the ground work completed, the first walls were erected and the house began taking shape. Four months later, on a very cold Saturday afternoon, Cobb was given the mortgage certificate and keys to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, handicap-accessible house.

“One thing I love about Habitat is everyday’s a new day,” said Becket Moore, CEO of the nonprofit. “It’s been a hard 2020. It’s time to celebrate two things: Karen waited a long time for a home and Goodall Homes built one for her.”

Many of Goodall Homes’ trade teams got involved in the project by providing materials and volunteer labor and the 52 Southern Nashville Division team members contributed to the Cobb family wish list.

“This partnership went beyond writing a check,” Stumpf said. “We were building a house and more. We had a phenomenal outpouring of love from our team and our trades. We hope the partnership continues to blossom.”

Cobb is a foster parent. She’s been fostering children for years. Ashlyn Grace was one of her foster children before Cobb adopted her. Linda-Lu came to Cobb when she was 2 years old.

“Now I have a place for my children,” Cobb said. “God is blessing me and also blessing my children with a safe home.”

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