By Bob Belcher

Daily Sun

Habitat for Humanity of Navarro County celebrated twice on Saturday — the completion of its third Habitat home, and the dedication of “Gioia Circle,” the street on which the new home, and several more to come, was built.

Members and volunteers of the ministry gathered at the property off of North Ninth Street to commemorate both occasions. The third Habitat project will be the new home of Missey Evans and her three children. Evans and family spent plenty of time getting ready for the project, having volunteered on the construction of their new home, and helping out with previous Habitat projects as well, a requirement of partner families of the project called “sweat equity.”

The home sits on the corner of a cul de sac that was named after community volunteer and leader Gioia Keeney. Gioia’s Circle, as it is now called, will eventually be the location of seven more Habitat homes, including one that the group hopes to complete by Christmas, said Dr. Bob Kingman, Habitat for Humanity of Navarro County president.

“This has been great. I think the city needs to be very proud of this,” Kingman said of the Gioia Circle concept.

Keeney’s daughter, Megan Martinez, and other members of the Keeney family were on hand for Saturday’s dedication and presentation of a plaque honoring the late community volunteer.

“I saw my mom’s face last night,” Martinez said. “And when I saw her face, she had the look she had when she’d just gotten a $50,000 contribution from someone,” which brought knowing laughter from the audience. Keeney was well known for her ability to help raise funds and support for groups and organizations that benefited Corsicana and Navarro County.

Corsicana Mayor C.L. “Buster” Brown III gave credit for the idea, and the work to get the property donated to Habitat for its use, to Connie Standridge, city manager.

“She has put a lot of effort into this and deserves a lot of thanks,” Brown told those gathered for Saturday’s event.

“It’s an improvement to Corsicana, it’s an improvement to the neighborhood,” added H.M. Davenport Jr., county judge. “To those folks that worked very diligently on this house and this overall project I can’t thank you enough. I think it’s wonderful.”

Unlike some volunteer organizations, interest in the Habitat for Humanity effort in Corsicana has not waned with time, Kingman said.

“I think its fun. Everybody’s enjoyed themselves when they’ve come out,” he said. “I think its a very good ministry with a good diversity of people from the community involved.”

Kingman also credited the volunteer spirit of area businesses to provide free and discounted materials for construction of the Habitat homes, and thanked dozens of volunteers who have played a part in the projects to date.

Habitat for Humanity homes are not “free.” They are financed through the Habitat for Humanity organization for the partner family at low interest rates, and because of lower construction costs due to donated and discounted materials and volunteer labor, are priced much less than comparable homes of the same size.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Navarro County and how to become a volunteer or partner family, visit the group’s Web site at


Bob Belcher may be reached via e-mail at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? E-mail:

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