TERRE HAUTE —
Pete and Mackenzee Burskey — despite being dressed up for a special occasion — were happily playing basketball Sunday afternoon with other kids near their new home on Chase Street.
The Burskey kids — ages 10 and 14, respectively — had good reason to be excited. They had just walked through their family’s brand new home.
“They’ve already made friends,” said their mom, Arica Burskey, just moments after receiving the keys to her new house on Terre Haute’s near-east side. A third child, Cain, 7, had a fever and could not be at the new home dedication, Arica said.
The Burskeys took possession Sunday of the Wabash Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 58th new home. Dozens of people — including many volunteers who helped build the one-story home, joined in the celebration.
“What a great day,” said Annette Houchin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, speaking to the gathering from the front porch of the house.
The Burskey home, a three-bedroom house on a small lot, sits next door to two other, recently constructed, Habitat homes. Arica Burskey is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and helped build both neighboring houses. She plans to continue to volunteer for the organization, she said.
“We’ll start moving [Sunday] evening,” Arica said. “We love it.”
Indiana State University provided dozens of volunteers who worked on the home and raised $50,000 for the project. Among them were Bev Bitzegaio, director of outreach for the college of technology, and Cheryl Kremer, an assistant professor of textiles, apparel and merchandising at ISU.
Bitzegaio and a team of construction management students built the home’s new, wooden deck. The deck project was dedicated to Corey Creason, an ISU construction management student who passed away last May from cancer, Bitzegaio noted.
“We tried to take into account what [the Burskey family] wanted,” Kremer said, describing how the window coverings and fixtures were chosen for the home. For example, Pete and Cain requested Chicago Bears drapes in their shared bedroom and that’s what they got.
“I get a new bedroom and we have brand-new everything,” Pete said excitedly. “And we actually have carpet in this house.” The family is also excited to be living near the Heritage Trail and in a safe neighborhood, Arica added.
Habitat for Humanity is a not-for-profit, Christian housing ministry. Worldwide, the organization has constructed or restored more than 600,000 homes serving more than 3 million people, according to the Habitat for Humanity website.
Families are selected based on need, willingness to volunteer labor for Habitat and ability to repay affordable home loans. Race and religion are not factors in selections, the website states.
The Vigo County Public Library provided a new book shelf and new books for the home. The Optimist Club presented a U.S. flag to the family, and James Shadow, pastor of the Marion Heights Community Church, presented a Bible.
Other help for the home’s construction was provided by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the regular Habitat volunteers known as “The Grumpies.”
For more information on the Wabash Valley Habitat for Humanity, visit the organization’s website at wvh4h.org or call 812-235-5914.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@trib