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MANY HANDS MAKE A HOME

A dream is being built on a quiet side street in south Brooksville.

It includes four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and soon will become the home of Pearlie Mae Delaine, her three children, her mother and four of her nieces and nephews.

Delaine's dream most likely would never have come true if she had to build the house herself. It is being built, thanks to the efforts of a group of retired building professionals, some caring volunteers and the financial backing of a national non-profit organization.

The house is the first Habitat for Humanity project in Hernando County. The organization raises money to purchase land and building materials, then brings community members together to build the house.

Fund-raising for Delaine's $33,000 house began more than a year ago. Construction started in early February and should be completed by May.

More money is needed to complete the project. To help raise the money, an auction will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 19 at the Hernando County Fairgrounds on U.S. 41 in Brooksville. Furniture, lawn equipment, appliances, tools and other items will be sold.

Delaine, 39; her sons, Steve, 17, and Levar, 14; and her nephews, Henry, 17, and Charles, 14, join the volunteer construction crews each weekend to meet the 300-hour volunteer requirement that Habitat for Humanity has for recipients of homes.

About 50 volunteers have committed to building the house. They divide into crews according to their areas of expertise, said Dick Braun, a local Habitat for Humanity coordinator.

"A lot of us are good at hammering," Braun said, "but mostly we rely on the expertise of retired professionals who point us in the right direction."

Delaine, a clothes maker with Brookstex Inc. in Brooksville, was awarded the house after a series of interviews with a nine-member selection committee. She was chosen from about 50 applicants, Braun said, and will assume a 25-year, interest-free mortgage. The payments will be determined by her income.

Delaine was born and reared in Brooksville. She recently returned to Brooksville after living in Orlando for several years. She is a member of Twin Lake New Jerusalem Church of God on Church Road.

"We're all very happy," Delaine said. "I thank God every day. Right now I'm living on faith. I feel very blessed."

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