February 4, 2017 marked a special occasion and a surprise event for Habitat of Humanity of Greater Fredericksburg. Held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a mortgage burning was celebrated for Habitat House #1 homeowners Raul and Mary Rodriguez of 109 Shaw Street.
Originally built in 1996, by local Habitat volunteers and members of St. Barnabas church, the home note was paid off by the Rodriguez’s after twenty years. Attending the ceremony was Rev. Stephen Kinney, former pastor of St. Barnabas, and one of the original founders of the local Habitat affiliate, established in 1995. Current and past board members, other Habitat homeowners, and Habitat volunteer builders, the Care-A-Vanners, were also in attendance.
At the mortgage burning event, June Phillips, a former board member, was honored for her dedication and work with Habitat over the past twenty years. She was surprised by two dozen of her family members who came to help announce the establishment of the June Phillips Scholarship Fund. The fund has been set up in honor of June’s commitment and service to the organization. Children of Habitat homeowners will be eligible for the scholarship.
Larry Berkman, president of Habitat, made the announcement as June’s family filled the room to congratulate her. Dick Aide, leader of the Care-A-Vanner group, then presented June and Habitat with $2,800 that was donated by the volunteer builders to the scholarship fund. June’s daughter, Dawn Houseal, then made a heartfelt speech, expressing the love and devotion June has shown for the organization, and its homeowners, over the years.