1348 days, dozens of volunteers, hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and support from local businesses
A Forsyth County family is able to move into their home following the completion of countless blessings from the community and perseverance of Lanier Fuller Center for Housing.
Chuck Ingraham's Comments at the Ceremony
Welcome everyone and thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to thank Ben, Velvie and William for the opportunity they gave us to give them a new beginning to the rest of their lives. For it is in giving that we have been blessed and this home exemplifies our faith that all things are possible when we put into action with a hammer and saw the teachings of our Lord and Savior.
I am Chuck Ingraham the CEO and Founder of The Lanier Fuller Center for Housing. It is my great privilege and honor to surround myself with 21st century Angels and miracle workers.
1348 days ago my then VP Al Simon and I agreed to work with the South Forsyth Middle School (Ms. Linda Ebert and Ms. Katie Newman) to restore and renovate Ben’s deceased grandmother’s home from a squatter’s hubble into the home you have made possible through the giving of your love, time ,talent and treasure.
No one associated with our ministry is financially compensated nor accepts assistance from government distributions of your tax assessments. We believed our brothers and sisters in faith would provide the fishes and loaves and the Lord would multiply their donations.
Once we gutted the structure to the studs we became aware that all we needed were a few miracles and an Angel or two.
I went to my contacts list and called “ANGEL” Matheson of Townley Toilets for 3 1/2 years of Free Dumpsters and a Porta Potty!
Next Angels came from my church bulletin and dear friends for over a quarter of a century, Ray and Susan Sokolowsky, of Plumb-rite Plumbing Service.
Ray plumbed the house at 1/3 the cost of the next lowest bidder.
Sammy Kelinic, of Triad Mechanical, a true friend and professional HVAC company owner installed the home’s ( first ever ) heating and air system and performed his miracle by making the invoice Disappear!
Rick Bogden of Bogden Electric rewired the knob and tube antiquated electric system and brought it up to 21st century code and miraculously only asked for the cost of materials. Miraculously again, paid for with a tithe from a couple married over 66 years; the Smith’s.
“We’d love to give to your Christian Ministry”
(Mr. Smith, passed away in his wife’s arms just a couple of months later).
The next miracle we needed was to find another Saint to fund the resheetrocking of the house. Saint Pam Gross, a friend of Velvie’s, fit the bill and covered it!
The house was on a live termite bed and although the first quote to treat and repair was almost $ 7,000,00 (a wrong number phone call) answered by our next miracle worker (Branton Caldwell of Proven Pest Solutions) dropped the cost to just the cost of chemicals, $250.00!
Saints come in all sizes and ages, I believe God actually sent Zach Nissen (Blackstone Roofing) to the Lanier Fuller Center knowing his talents would be needed and our youngest board member would replace the leaky 3 tab shingle roof with architectural shingles not for a going price of $7,500.00 but $ 850.00.
For those of you who may think Satin wasn’t paying attention as all these miracles happened you’d be mistaken. Seems he lives down at the county municipal building in the permit dept. Not only did they not want to allow a teenage homeowner to pull a building permit but they also had little to no knowledge that a house existed here. The next miracle worker was a friend at planning and zoning.
Strings got pulled, red tape disappeared and for the first time they allowed an “executrices of a Will”, to pull the permit (Thank you Aunt Carolyn.) However, they wouldn’t allow us to start until we completely “replaced the entire septic system”. Two rosaries later Joey Moore showed up with 1st Choice Septic & Moore and Bill Durham of Durham and Taylor Supply Co with a 1000 gal septic tank and two new leaching fields installed not for thousands of dollars but hundreds.
Windows don’t grow on trees…and lead covered frames don’t disappear overnight. But between Ben, William, Annette and Mike Donahue, of America’s Best Windows it seems we just fell asleep one night and woke up to 16 installed energy star low E double pane windows and nobody has ever found the invoice.
How many miracles does it take to make a dream come true?
At least a few more:
Seems Grandpa didn’t believe in plywood or drywall and decided to nail the siding directly to the studs. Only way to insulate would be to spray in foam. Up the walls of the cinder block foundation, the outside walls of the house and the entire roof line.
Thank you William Filan of IBP Atlanta for making it happen affordably.
If a young adult, big brother William, is going to be able to live in the two bedroom home, he’ll have to have a safe dry area to build his own suite. Problem is water is flowing from one end of the foundation to the other. Next, miracle worker and new board member Paul English has the contractor and the bill was handled. Wet Seal Waterproofing turns our basement swamp into a future apartment area.
Let’s not forget our landscaper Paul Pruitt, twenty tree stumps made to disappear, grading, seed straw and crusher driveway, all for a letter of appreciation.
If you had seen the floors when we arrived 3 years ago you would have thought there was no way to save them….UNLESS the Lord sends you Jon Bolander and termite damage, missing sixty year old boards, no problem… oh and by the way…forget sending a bill, Just tell the family Merry Christmas from Fabulous Floors.
Have you ever had to repaint your entire house? Inside and out? Plus stain a deck, add water seal to a basement wall and wonder what it would cost? Well Mike and Kelli Conahan (Mike is the local Sherwin Williams regional manager) added it up to $0.00. We even had Ihsan L. Nlateen of Johns Creek Home Depot chip in when Covid-19 prevented deliveries of ceiling paint to Sherwin Williams. Another angel, coming to our rescue.
Then there are the little miracle workers. They came from churches, organizations, friends, neighbors, relatives and the GREATEST BOARD OF DIRECTORS with whom a CEO could be Blessed.
Will my BOD please raise your hands and be recognized for your fortitude, persistence and patience with the project and me. Thank you all.
The little ones ranged in age from 4 to 86 1/2.Donations came in from Ben’s middle school classmates, giving up their report card money and allowances to see their friend have a home as nice as theirs. Lana Urbina and St. Brendan’s teens painted, installed roofing panels on the pergola, flooring and artistically stenciled Ben’s bedroom with his High School Logo and Mascot. Thank you Mike Mullen, founder of THE GOOD DEED DUDES, from the Browns Bridge Church, for referring Lana’s group to us and supplying us with your member’s labor and talent and two great board members, Brian Stacey and Rich Wilhelm.
Thanks to Tom Pernice and the Members of Grace Chapel Church, who were here every time we asked or needed help. Let’s not forget the former Mountain Lake Church now ” Local ” for not only their labor in gutting the home but in Baptizing it’s owner!
North Lanier Baptist Church returned the Greater Blessing of a wheelchair ramp for a parishioner with a day’s labor on Ben’s home also.
The Lanier Fuller Center for Housing couldn’t exist without the Re-donations of Greater Blessing Partners and financial donations from those whose hearts see us as an honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance. One such person who has truly kept us financially able has been Mr. Greg Badgett. His monthly donations have been a timely blessing over and over again.
Did I mention Fred’s Beds? Or the Oaks at Shiloh Point assisted living facility? Without Fred Ben won’t have a new Bed. Without The Oaks, Velvie would be unemployed and the house would be without wall hangings and pictures and a new BBQ grill.
If I missed anyone it might be the loving spouses who knew we were doing for a stranger what they wished we were doing for ourselves yet supported our will to follow the way of the bible.
You now know the story of the Velvie Project and Ben’s Home. Please visit as long as you wish, come in and introduce yourselves to Ben, Velvie and William see what our Miracles have produced and let Paul fix you a great Hot Dog, hamburger, BBQ bun, mac and cheese, chips, soda, cookies and oh, I forgot if you’re just reading this now you either already enjoyed the feast or missed out! Sorry…
Before we go in, the pastor would like to bless the home and I’ll turn over the responsibility and keys to Ben and he can open the door to his new home.
Fuller Center Lake Lanier’s primary focus is to help worthy families repair, restore, and make homes safe for the family. Our Greater Blessing program typically handles smaller projects, such as roof repairs, rebuilding decks or stairs, installing or replacing wheelchair ramps, among other things. Most of our Greater Blessings require a few hundred dollars in materials and a few hours to complete. The Velvie House Project was far bigger and more challenging than anything we could have anticipated. We are forever grateful to all the volunteers, financial contributions, and local businesses who helped make this dream a reality!
To fulfill this mission we need your help! We’re always happy to have volunteers on hand to complete the necessary work, but we also require other valuable resources, such as building materials, tools and equipment, and funding.