Owning a home is a big part of the American dream and for one area family, that dream moved closer to reality on Tuesday.

Owning a home is a big part of the American dream and for one area family, that dream moved closer to reality on Tuesday.
Shannon and Ashley Sappington were on hand for the official groundbreaking for their new home, to be built by Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity (NAHFH) at 412 Washington Ave., Neosho.
NAHFH President Larry Swift addressed those gathered for the occasion, "Welcome to a combination of two things, a ribbon cutting as Neosho Habitat for Humanity joins the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and the groundbreaking for the 14th Habitat for Humanity house in Neosho."
There was already a home on the lot when NAHFH purchased it but the dilapidated structure was torn down to make way for the new project.
"We will replace it with a really nice home for this family" he said. "We started the (building) process as soon as we could.  This is a great team."
Shannon and Ashley Sappington were present and will become homeowners when the project is complete.
"I'm from Ohio," Ashley said. "Shannon was in the Marine Corps and he now works at CFI. We live in Granby now.”
The couple has three children, two boys ages 13 and 7 and a daughter who is 5.
"The only reason they're not present today is because it was their first day of school," Ashley said.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical, Christian organization that works as partners with low to moderate income families to realize the dream of owning their own home, through hard work and a no-interest mortgage. Partner families also provide hands-on "sweat equity" as they assist in building their home.
"We've have already helped a little," Ashley said. "I helped rake a little with the rebar.  We are very grateful for this opportunity. We are not taking it for granted.  We are honored and blessed that we were picked. We would not be here without you. Thank you."
Since the first Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity home was dedicated in 1995, 15 families to date have lived in Habitat homes. Two homes are housing a second family and no fami;y has ever defaulted on their mortgage. Mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund For Humanity that will be used to build homes for other families.
All but one of the homes have been built in Neosho. The one exception was a donated home located in Goodman, Missouri that was remodeled.
"This is a great family," Swift said about the Sappingtons. "They've already been out here working. We hope to get this built by Christmas. It seems reasonable that we can right now, but we'd like to get it buttoned up and under construction before we have any weather."
Neosho resident Rick Keezer is the construction supervisor for this home.
"When a family is given the keys to their new home, we realize that all the hard work, the sore backs, the sunburns, the smashed thumbs and the tears were worth it," Swift said.
A ribbon cutting was held as the NAHFH joined the Chamber, followed by the official groundbreaking for the Sappington's home.  A donation was also made  by NAHFH board member Tina Felder, representing Arvest Bank. Each week, Arvest employees make a donation of $2 to wear blue jeans to work and this month, they chose Habitat for Humanity as one of the recipients.
Swift stated that many of those present for the ceremony are members of the Carpenter's Club, a fund raising group associated with Habitat for Humanity. Members promise to make a donation for every groundbreaking for each new home.  $35 is the smallest donation level to become a member but there are many levels.
Local residents are encouraged to show their support by volunteering, joining the Carpenter's Club with a donation, or simply by telling others about the work Habitat For Human does to improve the lives of local families.
Interested persons may contact NAHFH Executive Director Sy Werner at 417-451-5991.  Neosho Area Habitat for the Humanity can also be found on Facebook and with a website located at neoshohabitat.org.