The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Pearl Harmon was all smiles as she gave a quick tour of her new abode on Tuesday.
The new homeowner led visitors through the three-bedroom home taking care to point out the handicapped accessible bathroom, light switches installed at a lower level than usual and special sliding doors that will allow her daughter the freedom to move about in her wheelchair.
A dedication ceremony was held for the Harmon family at her new Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson County home on Texas Avenue in Port Arthur. Uliana Trylowsky, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity group, addressed a small crowd of well wishers and volunteers who had gathered at the home.
“When I first met Pearl she was going through dialysis three times a week. One day in March she ran off the building site,” Trylowsky said. “She was going to Galveston to get a kidney.”
Participants in the Habitat program contribute 300 hours of sweat equity toward building their own and their neighbor’s homes. Harmon explained that she had received the call of a possible match for a kidney four times prior to the call in March. Disheartened, she had mentioned to her pastor, Randy Clark of Triumph Church of Nederland, that she didn’t know if she wanted to answer that call in case the kidney was not a match.
“He said ‘you go.’ We formed a big circle and prayed,” Harmon said as she choked back tears.
She later underwent a successful transplant surgery.
Harmon is a single mother whose daughter, Faith, 11, has cerebral palsy. The Habitat program is allowing the mom to move from Villa Main Apartments where she has lived for the past 17 years.
During the dedication ceremony Cathy Caldwell of Spindletop Stitchers presented the new homeowner with a framed “sampler” and Trylowsky presented the Harmons with a new Bible.
A number of organizations helped with the Habitat house including the Wilton and Effie Mae Hebert Foundation, Bank of America, BBVA Compass Bank, Capital One Bank, Entergy Texas, Total Petrochemicals, Valero Refinery, City of Port Arthur, Coburn Supply, FHLB of Dallas and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
As all Habitat homeowners, the Harmon family will be making interest-free payments on a 20-year mortgage for their home that they earned by working the volunteer hours and attending financial literacy classes.
Stark white walls and laminated wood floors held no furniture of decorations yet but that will change very soon. She signed paperwork on Tuesday and is now ready to move into her new home.
Harmon walked to the rear of the home and out to a covered back porch. She pointed out a utility room that will house her daughter’s medical equipment when not in use then looked toward the spacious back yard.
“We have enough land now for a garage,” she said, adding that the driveway would wind around to the back of the home and the garage would allow her to move her daughter to and from a vehicle and her not get went during rainy days. “It’s in my prayer book.”