‘It’s amazing how so many people can come together’: Groundbreaking held at Hannibal Habitat for Humanity Home

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The board members, partners, recipient family and Tom and Becky attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Habitat for Humanity Home on Friday, May 12. From left, Steve McQueen, plant manager, Huber Plant; Jamie Haantz, director of operations, Huber Quincy Plant; Adam Robertson, production manager, Quincy Plant; Janet Dean, plant manager, Huber Marblehead Plant; Kaiden and Jessica Anderson, Gretchen McClain, CEO of Huber; and Tom and Becky (Connor Hudson and Kendall Kurz). | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Jessica Anderson and her son, Kaiden, felt like they were dreaming on Friday, May 12, as they gathered with a group of people who would help them build a house.

“I never would have imagined it in my wildest dreams,” Jessica said. “What a blessing.”

The morning was a celebration of the groundbreaking for the newest Habitat for Humanity home at 1205 Central Ave. The basement is already complete, but more work is to come.

Paul Ewert, chair for the Mark Twain Area Habitat for Humanity, led the group in an opening prayer. He then introduced Jessica and Kaiden to the crowd, along with the Habitat for Humanity Board Members.

He also introduced their partners for the construction of the home, J.M. Huber Corporation. The 140-year-old, family-owned, global corporation will be providing specialized, high-quality material, labor assistance, and tools.

Huber employs around 5,000 people in its facilities in Quincy, Marblehead and other locations around in the U.S., as well Latin America and Asia.

“This year I have been so amazed at the partnership we have had with them,” Ewert said. “Not only the project of the building and the materials, but early on, we saw the excitement and willingness of their people.”

Huber CEO Gretchen McClain came from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta to attend the ground-breaking. She said the family and communities served are important to Huber, with one percent of net profits donated to philanthropy each year.

“We believe we need to be part of the community. We want to work and live in areas that we give back to the community, so that is a big part of what we do,” she said.

Janet Dean, plant manager at the Huber Marblehead Plant and Habitat for Humanity board member, said the Huber employees in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa will contribute to the project.

“I’m extremely proud to work for a company that invests so much back into the families and the communities that we are. It’s a very special company that really does give back,” she said.

Ewert said General Mills has given money for tools, and MFA provided a generator to operate equipment. The Riedel Foundation also contributed a $5,000 matching grant for more tools and equipment.

Jessica and Kaiden have been hard at work, cleaning the yard for the workers. They will contribute more than 300 hours to help with the construction of their home.

Kaiden, a seventh grader at Hannibal Middle School, told the crowd he was grateful for their home.

“It’s amazing how so many people can come together just for this great cause,” he said. “One thing that I really like about this is that it is a way to honor our one and only God, Jesus Christ — and this is only just one blessing that’s happening around the world,” he said. 

Volunteers will be working on the home on weekdays. To watch progress on the project or for more information, contact Mark Twain Area Habitat for Humanity Facebook page.

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