VICTORIA, Texas, June 20, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Tory Kitchens stood in the living room of her new home last week, surrounded by dozens of friends and family, all of the adversity she has faced over the past several years seemed to fade away.
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With the help of Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity (Golden Crescent Habitat) and down payment and closing cost assistance through NewFirst National Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), Ms. Kitchens will move into her very own home in August.
"If someone had told me a few years ago I would be standing here in my brand new home about to begin a new chapter of life I would have laughed and said, 'Yeah right,'" Ms. Kitchens said at her home dedication service on June 14. "I never imagined myself buying a new home, much less building it myself."
Present at the event were family and friends, including Ms. Kitchens's three boys and perhaps her biggest supporter of all, her mother. Another guest who attended the service -- Bethany Hamilton, the young woman whose life serves as the basis for the movie "Soul Surfer" -- presented Ms. Kitchens with a Bible.
Golden Crescent Habitat received a $19,257 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant in 2011 from FHLB Dallas and NewFirst National Bank. The funds are being used toward down payment and closing costs for Ms. Kitchens and two other low-income homebuyers in Victoria.
"The relationship with both NewFirst and the FHLB Dallas AHP program is significant to Golden Crescent Habitat," said Cynthia Staley, Golden Crescent Habitat Executive Director. "Over the past 10 years, FHLB Dallas has helped us build 15 homes for low-income families in Victoria, something that has significantly impacted our entire community. Families like Tory's now have a place of their own, where the family can be nurtured in a safe, healthy environment."
Several representatives from NewFirst National Bank attended the dedication service for Ms. Kitchens.
"NewFirst National Bank is pleased to be able to partner with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to assist with affordable housing projects such as those available through the Golden Crescent Habitat," said NewFirst National Bank Vice President Jane Grothe. "It is especially gratifying to see a family that, through hard work, has received the opportunity for first-time home ownership right in our local community."
Ms. Kitchens dropped out of high school as a senior and found it hard to get a job without a G.E.D. When she was pregnant with her third child, she moved back home with her mother, who provided her the support she needed to get back on her feet. Once she had saved up enough money, she and her children moved into a two-bedroom apartment, which they have been occupying for the past seven years.
Now she cringes when she thinks about how much money she has put into renting all these years.
"I was going to work day in and day out at the same dead-end job making less than it takes to raise a family of three growing boys," she said at her home dedication. "I threw away so much money paying rent on an apartment that is no more mine today than it was the day I moved in."
Now she looks forward to simple things, like her boys being able to have sleepovers now that they will have more space, and hosting the holiday meals at her home, and the privacy that comes with everyone having their own room.
"There are just no words that can express the joy and pride that we feel," she said. "The fact that we built this home together makes those feelings immeasurable. I could say this was a dream come true, but for me this wasn't a dream of mine, this was one of my wildest fantasies, and an answered prayer. God was looking out for my boys and me. Now, He has blessed us with such am amazing gift – a home."
Ms. Hamilton, a shark attack survivor, attended the dedication as part of a day of fundraising activities through Golden Crescent Habitat. She wrote an inscription in the Bible before presenting it to Ms. Kitchens, following Habitat's tradition of presenting a Bible to its new homeowners during the dedication services. Later in the day, Ms. Hamilton attended a plated luncheon where she and her mother participated in a question and answer session, and an evening meet and greet, along with a moderated conversation with Ms. Hamilton. All activities helped to raise money for Golden Crescent Habitat.
Aside from preparing to move into her own home, Ms. Kitchens has made other exciting changes in her life. She has been attending night classes and will walk the stage next month to receive her G.E.D., and she was recently hired at the new Caterpillar plant where she is being trained as a welder.
"Since I became involved with Habitat, I have a renewed vigor that has led me to make other positive changes in my life for myself and for my sons," Ms. Kitchens said. "The sky's the limit for me now and by doing these things I hope I have been a role model to my boys, showing them that hard work and determination can take you places you never dreamed before."
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $34.2 billion as of March 31, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
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CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445