Looking back at the past year, Michelle Almasy remembered the long journey to home ownership.
Almasy was presented the keys to her new home in Polo Sept. 23 through Habitat for Humanity Home of Ogle County.
"I found an ad for Habitat in the paper," said Almasy. "I applied and thought all they could tell me was no. They asked to do a home visit and they wanted to meet the kids."
Almasy wanted her kids to be on their best behavior so she did what all good parents do — threaten them.
"I threatened them with eternal groundings if they were bad, but I also bribed them with ice cream," Almasy said jokingly.
This tactic worked and Almasys was told she was selected for the home.
In order to receive a Habitat home, Almasy was required to put in hours of sweat equity each week following the May 6 groundbreaking.
"It has been interesting seeing the process," she said. "I really like power tools."
By helping with the build, Almasy was able to work with countless volunteers.
"I am grateful of the entire team," she said. "Thank you. I take comfort in knowing we are in a home we can feel safe and secure."
Pastor Brion Brooks, Ebenezer Reformed Church, presented the family with a Bible and blessed the home.
"Maybe this Bible should be on a pedestal by the front door to remind your family they are God's child," said Brooks. "This book will get your through the tough times. The hope is you will continue God's spirit. They will always have a voice."
Brooks said all the volunteers did the work for the Almasy family.
"We have all seen the pictures, but the love is not captured in them," said Brooks. "Everyone did it because they wanted to do this for you."
The Almasy family was welcomed to Polo by their Alderman Doug Knapp.
"On behalf of the city we give you a warm welcome," said Knapp. "We hope you have an enjoyable life here in Polo."
A few minor projects remained to be completed before the family will move into the home.
The kitchen counter and sink will be installed this week and the outside landscaping needs to be completed.
During the house blessing, Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County president Bob Van Stedum announced the organization closed on a lot in Mt. Morris and will begin planning a home for the site.