TVA, Habitat for Humanity join hands to give family new start

Published 12:26 pm Friday, October 20, 2023

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Imagine being a child riding past a home being built and knowing one day that home will be yours.

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That is exactly what is occurring at 1654 Central Avenue in Elizabethton as ground was broke on the project on Tuesday, October 3 and on Wednesday, the framework was delivered to the home to begin the building process.

The home is being built for Habitat homebuyer Jesse and his blended family including Judi and their five daughters with some that will be watching their home go up while passing by on their school bus to their current residence.

Holston Habitat helps individuals and families with limited financial resources and housing need to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through safe, affordable shelter.

After tragically losing his fourteen-year-old son in 2021, Habitat homebuyer Jesse and his four daughters moved to Elizabethton seeking a safer place to live.  The family is now rooted in the community and has grown to include Jesse’s partner, Judi, and her daughter.

“I promised my son that I would one day buy us a house. That’s a promise I intended on keeping,” says Jesse. “We are looking forward to having something we can call our own and the opportunity to have a fresh new start!”

During the month of May, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) had its annual Day of Caring and used that day to pre-assemble the walls for the home being built for the family.

Those walls were delivered on Wednesday where Elizabethton Electric General Manager Brandon Shell was on hand to lend a hand in getting the project off to a good start. Also, the City of Elizabethton water resource department was present as they worked to set up water service by installing a meter for the home.

“It was a great experience, but listening to everyone talk about how excited the family is and how this is going to make a difference in their life was the best part,” said Shell about being able to be included in the day’s activities.

The home is expected to take 13 weeks and require more than 2,000 hours of labor to complete.

“We’ll provide the tools, training, and safety gear needed to get the job done. All we need now is willing hands to help,” says Steve Clark, Holston Habitat’s Construction Manager. “Whether you’re a skilled builder or you don’t know which end of the hammer to hold, there’s a place for you on a Holston Habitat build site.” 

Volunteer registration for this build is currently open and accessible through Holston Habitat’s website at

Jesse was blessed to have been able to make his promise come true, according to Laura Kelly, Executive Director for Holston Habitat for Humanity.

“This property the house is being built on was a God-send for Jesse and his family,” said Kelly, who was on site for the delivery. “We are having a hard time finding land to build these homes on. If there is someone who has a piece of land they would be willing to donate or sell at a fair price; we would appreciate them reaching out to us so we can provide more homes like this.”If someone would like to discuss possible land sites, they can contact Kelly at (423) 239-7689 x 804 or by going to on the web.