CRESTVIEW — As Jamie Peoples and her three children settle into their new Crestview home, they reflect on all the hands that had a part in its construction.

Watch video from the dedication ceremony>>

Among almost 700 volunteer workers were 18 business students from Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, whose spring break was decidedly different from the usual spring breaker’s image.

“Those college kids were awesome!” Peoples said.

Thursday, the volunteers’ combined 3,500 hours of labor paid off when the four-bedroom, almost 1,400-square-foot home was dedicated.


As a Habitat partner family, the Peoples family helped build not just their own home, which was constructed on a lot donated by the city of Crestview, but also homes for other Habitat families.

“I appreciate Habitat so much,” Peoples said as she thanked the non-profit organization that helps financially needy families obtain their own home.

“It’s been a long road,” Peoples said, choking with emotion. “Thank you so very much. I can’t say more than that. I feel more than that, but I can’t say it.”

Habitat for Humanity Okaloosa Chairman of the Board Debbie Bodensteine, who hosted the dedication ceremony Thursday afternoon, said Peoples had worked two jobs to support her family and pay rent.

“Now she has quit one and can enjoy her new home with her family,” Bodenstine said.

“With the money I will save living in our own home, I can now spend more time with my wonderful children (Destiny, 17, Derek, 15 and Ondrea, 11),” Peoples said.


The new home’s construction was made possible by a $60,000 grant from Publix Supermarkets Charities.

Tim Bryant, manager of the Crestview Publix, and members of his management team helped welcome the family to their home, and presented them with a load of $500 worth of groceries.

“Not only did we help build the house, we are going to fill their pantries,” Bryant said.

The dedication was also noteworthy because of a magnolia sapling in the front yard.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to partner with Habitat for Humanity,” Allen French of Trees Destin, a non-profit arborist, said.

And what’s the best part of the new house?

“My room!” Ondrea said.