A local Navy veteran is now a homeowner, thanks to the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana and Asbury United Methodist Church.
Lonnie Carmack and his wife Rosalyn got the keys to their new home on Nina Street in Bossier City Saturday. The home had been under construction since Mar. 7. Unlike the other Fuller Center homes, the Carmack home came with a life-size painting, by Haughton High School Senior Nakia Devereaux. It was a part of his senior project.
It's the Fuller Center's 50th home dedication, and the second home it's built in Bossier City. The Carmack's home sits on "Katy's Corner" in honor of Katy Watkins, a dedicated Asbury UMC member who died in 2006 in a wreck. Her church members have continued her legacy of giving back by partnering with the Fuller Center to build homes for low income working families.
For Lonnie Carmack, being a homeowner is a dream come true.
"I love it, it's beautiful," said Carmack.
Carmack served in Japan and the Philippines during the Vietnam era. When he returned, his life took a turn for the worst.
"I struggled with alcohol and drugs in and out of jail. But, I finally got that right. The lord blessed me with a wife, a good job. Now I got a home."
His new neighbor, Charles Brown, helped him piece his life back together after the two met at the VA Hospital.
"I saw Mr. Carmack in his position," said Brown. " I said I see some hope in you. So let me hold you until you can hold yourself. And I was there with him every step of the way."
Brown help Carmack get a job at the VA Hospital, and then apply for a Fuller Center home. The City of Bossier proclaimed Charles Brown the Mayor of Katy's Corner during the dedication ceremony.
Although construction began on Mar. 7, volunteers only used less than 30 days to build the home, for less than $50,000.
"It's a tremendous achievement but what it really shows is the commitment of the volunteers. We can't do anything without out the volunteers," said Lee Jeter, the Executive Director of the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana.
The non-profit now needs volunteers to register to help finish construction at a home it's building in the Cedar Grove neighborhood. It plans to build more homes in Bossier, but needs the city to donate adjudicated property first.