Habitat for Humanity chapter breaks ground on county’s 25th house

Melissa Stockmaster of Port Clinton joins a crowd of Habitat for Humanity officials to break ground on her new home on Walnut Street in Port Clinton. From left to right are Debi Heiks and Alex Morgan of Habitat for Humanity, Melissa Stockmaster, Construction Manager Paul Henry and Habitat for Humanity board members Lisa McNary, Jan Corbin, Mark Geldien and Kim Geldien.
(Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

Melissa Stockman had long dreamed of owning her own home, a place where her son, 14, and daughter, 10, can thrive in a residential setting in Port Clinton. Ottawa County’s Habitat for Humanity is making that happen, breaking ground this week on a vacant Walnut Street lot on Port Clinton’s east side.

“It is just amazing, to be able to raise my children close to Lakeview Park’s playground and the Lake Erie beach,” said Stockman. “When I thought about filling out the application for a Habitat for Humanity home, I thought it would take years, but it is already happening.”

An apartment building supervisor and single parent who lives on the site of her job, Stockman said having a home will put a wrap on knocks on her door in the middle of the night to field problems from tenants.

“This home is a blessing,” said Stockman. “It truly is. I can’t believe how fortunate I am.”

The new home is also a milestone for Ottawa County’s Habitat for Humanity. It is the 25th home it has built over the last 25 years, said new Executive Director Debi Heiks.

“Habitat for Human gives a ‘hand up,’ not a handout,” said Board president Jan Corbin. “A handout is given to make you feel good when you give it. But a ‘hand up’ is to help someone else make their life better. That is what Habitat for Humanity does.”

Stockman was required to have a steady job, and will have a mortgage to pay when she moves in to her new home, but there are benefits. The Croghan Colonial Bank mortgage will be interest free, and taxes will be included. Helping to fund the project is a grant from the Ottawa County Community Foundation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a gala at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 1-4 p.m.

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