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12/10/2012 7:12:00 AM
Habitat breaks ground on Bonner house (with photo gallery)
Karla and Derrick Bonner and their daughter, JessikahVVN/Jon Pelletier
Karla and Derrick Bonner and their daughter, Jessikah

VVN/Jon Pelletier

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Gayle Durkin and Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens. VVN/Jon Pelletier
Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Gayle Durkin and Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens. VVN/Jon Pelletier
+ view more photos
The Verde Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the site of the new Bonner home on Thursday, December 6, in Cottonwood.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

The Verde Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity held its 12th groundbreaking Thursday in Cottonwood.

A huge crowd of Habitat and ReStore volunteers, businessmen, Chamber representatives, city council members, bankers and family members were on hand for the ceremony.

"It is a joyous day for the Bonner family," proclaimed Habitat Director Gayle Durkin.

Karla and Derrick Bonner and their daughter, Jessikah, will contribute sweat equity as volunteers build the new house on Cherry Hills Way off Camino Real and Piela. They were surrounded by many of the 23 extended family members who came from throughout Arizona for the ceremony.

"It's not a hand out, it's a hand up," reminded Durkin. While Habitat makes it easier for qualified families to own their own home, they personally contribute to the construction work and then pay off the mortgage like everyone else does.

The Bonners have already been working hours in the Restore, even before construction starts.

The project is getting a lot of help. Goettl's High Desert Mechanical will donate and install the complete heating and cooling system. Distinctive Roofing has offered the entire roofing package. Other contributors included New Frontiers, Food City, Tlaquepaque and Toys for Tots and more.

The project got a big shot in the arm from Wells Fargo Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Justin Martz, the Community Banking System Manager for Wells Fargo from Prescott, and Tammy Garrison of the Cottonwood Branch, presented a check for $15,000.

Local bank team members must also volunteer 60 hours to the Bonner House project Martz told the gathering. In Arizona alone, Wells Fargo team members have contributed 100, 000 hours to similar projects.

"My team is ecstatic," said Garrison.

The Federal Home Loan Bank Board will add another $22,500.

After a couple of slow years, Verde Valley Habitat Board Chairman Cullen Hollister said, "This begins a rash of new construction" for the non-profit organization. He says Verde Valley Habitat has three properties and the hope to build two more houses in the coming year.

The next house will be constructed in Sedona. The Family Selection Committee has already begun reviewing candidates.

Mayor Diane Joens told the crowd, "Home ownership provides a solid base in our community. This is about community."

An enthusiastic Karla Bonner teared up at the warm celebration.

Daughter Jessikah said, "It's good to have a future to look forward to."

With a hug, Maggie Bradley, the Bonner's Habitat partner, said, "Now you also have a Habitat family."

Taylor Waste

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