Relocated house becomes home family has long wanted

June 21, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Henry Parker Jr., moving into the house that once stood on Race Road so close to Baltimore-Washington International Airport that the jet noise was worse than the original residents could stand.

The one-story frame house now sits in the front yard of what was Mr. Parker's boyhood home on Solley Road in Glen Burnie, thanks to Arundel Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Parker, his wife, Bertha, and their sons Gregory, 14, and Roland, 3, are to move into the house by the end of the month.

The house is the fourth one donated to Habitat by the Maryland Aviation Administration under its Voluntary Land Acquisition Program.

The administration, which operates BWI, has been buying houses within the loudest noise zone around the airport since 1985 and donating them to agencies such as the county and Habitat for Humanity. Since the program began, 28 homes have been donated by the administration.

Jeff Gallaher, an architect and president of Arundel Habitat for Humanity, said moving houses from the airport noise zones is cheaper than building new ones. That makes them even more affordable for the new homeowners.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers provide affordable homes for people who would not otherwise afford them by fixing up old homes or building new ones and selling them at cost, with 20-year, no-interest mortgages.

"The most moving thing is to see all the love and care that people have given to help build this house with this family," Mr. Gallaher said.

"It's a home for my wife and my kids," said Mr. Parker, whose family has been living in a two-bedroom apartment in Arnold for the past 12 years. "That's a special feeling. It is like God just blessing us."

Mr. Parker had spent several years unable to work because of kidney disease.

Six years ago, he received a kidney transplant from his sister, and his health greatly improved. He returned to work and eventually be came director of the Light House shelter in Annapolis.

Now, for the first time, each of the Parker children will have his own room. There is a fenced yard where Roland can play. There is room for a grill for Mr. Parker and a garden where Mrs. Parker can plant tomatoes.

The family waited for five years for a house from Habitat. The Parkers have put in about 550 hours of work on their house and other Habitat homes, more than the 350 hours of "sweat equity" Habitat requires from new homeowners.

"I learned a lot," said Mr. Parker, who built the home's front porch and helped install new windows and kitchen cabinets.

Mrs. Parker installed locks and doorknobs.

"I get excited every time I come over here," said Mrs. Parker Thursday, as she prepared to vacuum the floors of her new home.

Mr. Gallaher said more than 100 volunteers helped ready the three-bedroom house. They built a foundation. They installed siding, cabinets and a chain-link fence. They painted walls and refurbished the bathroom.

Students from Magothy Middle School pitched in, planting a garden and two flower boxes full of red and white geraniums.

"It makes it special to know that people care so much," Mrs. Parker said.

For more information on Arundel Habitat for Humanity, call 267-8430.

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