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SUNSET HARBOR—A single mother with five children will be the owner of a new home thanks to the generosity of Brunswick Community Hospital employees.
Chowan Simmons and her children joined with hospital employees and Brunswick County Habitat for Humanity officials last week to break ground on a new 1,300-square-foot house in the Pelican Point subdivision.
The house is one of three Novant Health employees across the state are building to celebrate the company’s 10-year anniversary.
Novant’s CEO Paul Wiles was on hand for the celebration and said the idea to build Habitat houses came from the employees when they were asked to come up with ways to celebrate the anniversary.
“There were ideas floating around like ‘Rent out Carowinds for a day,’ but they came back and said we ought to do something to support our community,” Wiles recalled.
They decided to build three houses—one in each of the communities where Novant has hospitals: Brunswick County, Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
Novant is funding the price of the homes, and employees will be the principal volunteer builders.
“It’s really cool—the selflessness of it,” Wiles said.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Wiles told the family he was “delighted” to be able to help them build their new home.
“We’re very excited about being the builders of three homes in North Carolina,” he said.
Brunswick Community Hospital CEO Denise Mihal said large number of employees have signed up. Two of them, information technology staffer Bruce Hojnacki and materials management employee Angelo Williams, are the project managers.
Hojnacki said the first volunteer opportunity will be April 26, and the employees will be volunteering every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through August. People have signed up not only to assist with the construction but also to make and deliver lunches to the workers.
During the ceremony, Habitat executive director Gary Knapp said he’d “never worked with a group of people who wanted so much to get involved in a project.”
During her speech, Mihal told the Simmons family “We will be here every step of the way with you.”
Simmons couldn’t have been more pleased.
“I am so excited. The Lord has answered my prayer.”
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.