ROCKINGHAM — While Nankeen Burch was at work one day in November 2007, her three children got off the school bus and discovered an eviction notice on their door.
Her children, Torian, Dadriene and Dante, now 23, 20 and 19 respectively, were picked up by their grandmother, Pearleen David, who took their family in for the next 10 years.
Dadriene said it was a “rough transition” from their home in Hamlet to Rockingham which forced them to change schools and make new friends, but their mom was able to provide for them, kept them in church, got all of them into college — and got an associate medical assistant degree herself.
On Thursday, Habitat for Humanity dedicated a home on Green Lake Road to Burch’s family after three years of work on other houses and in the classroom.
“To have my own special place in the world — a lot of people don’t know how important this is to me,” Burch said, choking back tears. “Having my own home, it makes my life complete. It’s a blessing.”
Before working with the organization, Burch said she was “stubborn and prideful,” resistant to the idea of someone just “giving” her a home, which isn’t how the process works. After several people mentioned it to her, she finally applied.
“Nakeen has been a perfect partner to Habitat,” said Amie Fraley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills. Fraley added that Burch was a “kind and patient to work with” despite the nature of the home construction process which relies on volunteers with little experience.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Fraley said.
The Burch family’s new home, which they will officially own Friday, is 1,350 square feet, plus 400 square feet of deck space, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to Jim Entwistle, who oversaw construction of the home.
“It’s a very rewarding experience for those who work on the homes,” Entwistle said. “It’s not just physically building a home … it’s bigger than all of us.”
The family was also presented with picture frames and a collage of family pictures contributed by Pinehurst United Methodist Church, a painting contributed by the Artist League of the Sandhills, and a quilt from the Sandhills Quilters Guild.
Bert Harrell with the First Baptist Church of Southern Pines presented the family with a Bible, after which Burch said to the gathering of friends, family and volunteers in her new yard, “I’ve got everything I need now.”
She quoted Psalm 127 which reads, “Unless the Lord builds