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Last updated: February 15. 2013 11:44AM - 314 Views

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MATT HUGHES

mhughes@timesleader.mh
WEST WYOMING – A woman devoted to serving others got a helping hand herself Wednesday, just in time for Christmas.

Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity and Sordoni Construction dedicated the new home of the Gibbons family Wednesday in West Wyoming. Geri Gibbons, a social worker for the Volunteers of America’s Manna House and a single mother of six, was quietly ecstatic about moving into her family’s new house.
“It’s kind of like a miracle,” Geri Gibbons said. “We’re really, really cognizant that this is an extraordinary thing; that this doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s really like a miracle happening in your life.”
Sordoni Construction Services Inc., Forty Fort, built the new 1,300-square-foot, four-bedroom house on West Brady Street for Habitat for Humanity to celebrate the construction company’s 100th anniversary. More than 40 of the company’s subcontractors also volunteered their time and resources to the project.
“It has been a real pleasure to work on this project, and we’re delighted to give this home to you,” company President William E. Sordoni told the Gibbons family and the approximately 40 others who attended a dedication ceremony Wednesday.
Gibbons, 48, and her four youngest children, ages 12 through 20, will share the home. Per her agreement with Habitat for Humanity, she will pay off a $55,000 interest-free mortgage over 20 years. The payments will fund construction of new Habitat homes.
Prior to Tuesday, the Gibbons family lived in a half-double in Wilkes-Barre. Though she is quick to point out that her landlord “has been really good to us,” Gibbons described the house as old, drafty and in a neighborhood that has grown more dangerous in recent years.
“Home ownership is such a nice thing,” she said. “It’s something that I value a lot. I also think that I’m going to have a home; not just a house, but a home. My grandkids could come there.”
Gibbons, originally from Hazleton, has been divorced for nine years, and with the death of her children’s father in April became “a real single mother,” she said.
“It’s been a struggle,” she said. “We’re still struggling. Even though we’ve been really responsible and diligent, it’s a real struggle when you have kids.”
She said she applied for help from Habitat for Humanity 18 months ago, at the suggestion of her oldest son, Nathaniel, and the family filled out the application process.
“She’s really worked hard her whole life,” Nathaniel, 20, said. “Just going to work, going to school, getting her master’s; she’s really worked her whole life just so that we could have things.”
The family found out they had been selected in April, but by that point they had already begun working for Habitat themselves. Gibbons and her two oldest sons, Nathaniel and Christopher, helped build another home on Stanton Street and worked at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore used surplus building material outlet in Nanticoke.
“We got to know the family, so that was really nice,” she said.
Geri’s oldest son, Nathaniel, works for Goodwill Industries International Inc. Service, she said, is in the family’s blood. “Our family really has always been service-oriented,” Gibbons said. “We plan to keep working with Habitat even after we move in, because that’s what we should do. We try to be a helping family as well as a family that gets blessed.”
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