Club builds its First Home for a local Family in Need

Joyce Tohill cuts the ribbon for the breaking ground of her new home. Habitat for Humanity staff, members of Habitat for Humanity Lake Sumter The Villages Club, Tohill and her family gather together to celebrate.

Joyce Tohill broke into tears as she walked up to the site where her new home was to be built.

This would be the first home the Tavares resident has owned, and it’s all thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter The Villages Club.

On Friday, club members gathered with Tohill’s family, and Habitat for Humanity staff at the location in Fruitland Park, where the home is going to be built, to celebrate breaking ground. When Tohill arrived, she was immediately overwhelmed by the support of everyone present.

“I’ve assisted with The Women’s Build for Habitat of Humanity,” she said. “But it’s different when you are the one receiving the home.”

After a ribbon-cutting, members celebrated with cake, muffins, juice and coffee and began discussing plans for the build.

“This is the first new build for the club,” said Sally Read, co-president for Habitat for Humanity The Villages Club.

“We are really excited and we will be doing all the decorating for the house as well. The Dream Team consists of several of the guys, and they will act as managers throughout the build so we thought it was the least us ladies in the club could do,” said Read, of the Village of Tall Trees.

Kevin Tucker, president of Habitat for Humanity The Villages Club, said everything was on track.

“The concrete will be poured Monday, and we can get started on the build by Wednesday or the following Monday,” he said. “We are so thankful we are able to provide a home for this family.”

Danielle Stroud, senior director of programs and partnership for Habitat for Humanity, said she was thankful to work with each family that benefits from the group.

“Four out of 10 families make under $30,000 a year,” she said. “So when these volunteers are out swinging hammers, they are the voices making a difference for our local families. I am so thankful Joyce and her family will be blessed and have a home to call their own, because they deserve it.”

Tohill’s daughter, Grace Weare, was extremely happy she was able to be at the ceremony with her children, mom and sisters.

“I’m just so happy for my mom,” said Weare, of Tavares. “It’s going to make me cry — she’s always put her kids first her whole life. She’s a single mom and was a foster mom when I was younger, and she always discussed, ‘In my dream home...’ — she didn’t think it was possible, and now she will have her dream home.”

Tohill’s been coming by every week to take progress photos, Weare added.

“I’m shocked, overwhelmed and beyond excited because it’s not going to be a shack,” said Tohill, as she begin to wipe away tears from her face again. “It’s going to be a nice house that I can leave to my daughter, where I don’t have to worry about her being put into a home or something. It’s a place she can live here for the rest of her life.”

Tohill paused to look over the property, smiling as her grandchildren played in the dirt.

“I’m already thinking about next Thanksgiving and Christmas here,” she said. “It’s just so exciting that this is our new home!”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity The Villages Club email Sally Read at villagershabitat@gmail.com.

Staff writer Andrea Davis can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5374, or andrea.davis@thevillagesmedia.com.