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Pauline Linde with her children in front of her new house built by Grande Ronde Habitat for Humanity. The children in the back are George and Heather; in the front are Faith, Jaxon, Allie and Chelsea, PHOTOS by CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer
Just in time for Christmas, family moves into new Habitat for Humanity home
Christmas was nine days away but George Linde, 8, was already in full celebration mode.
George was running down a hallway of his family’s house on North Pine Street with his arms extended almost like exclamation marks shouting, “I love my new home!’’
The words were spoken with an exuberance and innocence only an eight-year-old could express. Words which echoed the thoughts of his five brothers and sisters
and his mother, Pauline Linde.
All were at an open house for a new home built for them by Grande Ronde Valley Habitat For Humanity — a home the family moved into a week ago with unbridled joy.
“They (her six children) were smiling all day. Nothing could take their smiles away,’’ Pauline Linde said.
The family had previously lived with Pauline Linde’s parents, Paul and Cheryl Hicks, in La Grande since 2008. The young family was grateful for their love and the chance to live with them but desperately needed more room.
Six-year-old Faith, left, and her sister Chelsea, 7, take turns jumping off their bunk bed as they enthusiastically acclimate to their bedroom in their family’s new home.
Pauline and her six children in La Grande, Heather 12, George 8, Chelsea 7, Faith 6, Jaxon 4 and Allie 11/2 now have the space they need. Their new home has five bedrooms, 11/2 baths, a kitchen, a living room and a carport. Their house was constructed over a seven-month period by Habitat for Humanity volunteers, who worked each Wednesday and Saturday. Pauline feels everlasting gratitude toward the volunteers.
“They came faithfully everyday. I was amazed, I still am,’’ she said.
Pauline, who put in more than 290 hours assisting the crew, made a point of telling the volunteers how transformative their efforts would be to her family.
“I told them they were not building a house, they were building a home.’’
The many people Pauline feels gratitude toward include Burr Betts of Cove, who was the volunteer contractor for the project. Pauline marveled at how patient Betts was with inexperienced volunteers and also how meticulous and skillful he was.
Organizations who assisted included many members of Valley Fellowship who spent a day painting. Local businesses who stepped forward included Grocery Outlet which filled a pantry with canned food for the family.
David Still, president of Grande Ronde Valley Habitat for Humanity also lent a big hand. Pauline is grateful to Still for playing an instrumental role in getting the house completed and for a plea he made which she heeded — stop smoking.
“I don’t build houses for people who can not live in them,’’ Still gently but firmly told Pauline Linde.
The littlest of the family, a smiling Allie, discovers the joy of running down a long hallway in their new home.
Two weeks ago Pauline took Still’s advice and quit smoking. She has not had cigarette since.
“I have not even had a craving for one,’’ she said.
Pauline said that without Still’s encouragement and pleas from her children she doubts she would have stopped.
As a Habitat For Humanity homeowner Pauline received an interest-free loan to pay for her home. The home is much cheaper than it would have been largely because it was built with volunteer labor. and with the help of Habitat for Humanity donations.
To be eligible for a Habitat for Humanity home a family must fall within a certain income range, be able to manage their loan payments and contribute 500 hours of work helping their home.
The home built for Pauline Linde and her children is the ninth Grande Ronde Habitat for Humanity affiliate has built since it was founded about dozen years ago.
“I can honestly say that this was our Christmas present,’’ Pauline Linde said.
It was a present that will provide the foundation for treasured memories.
“I want my kids to grow up knowing they had a great childhood.’’