Murray Hill, New Jersey, November 1, 2006 -- A Cartersville, Georgia, mother who prayed for a more secure home for her son got her prayer answered, thanks to Habitat for Humanity and BOC Gases.
Pamela Dennis, 50, will move with her son, daughter, and two grandchildren to a house on West Main Street, in Cartersville. BOC, one of the world’s largest industrial gases suppliers and a member of The Linde Group, sponsored the house through the Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity. Construction begins this week; the house should be finished by early March.
Since 2002, Dennis and her family have lived in the Etowah Housing Authority apartments, Cartersville’s public housing complex. Fitting five people in a three-bedroom apartment is tight and it has been all too easy for Dennis’ autistic, son, Harold, 18, to escape.
Residents aren’t allowed to install deadbolts on the windows or doors and Harold, who needs constant supervision, has been able to climb out windows or sneak out the door at night while his mother is sleeping. He’s been found wandering through the neighborhood, a big worry since Highway 41, the busiest road in town, is just a block away. Now, Dennis has Harold sleep in her room so she can keep an eye on him.
“Concern for my son was one of the main things that drove me to Habitat. It’s hard as a single parent to take care of him and work any job with hours that extend past his school day,” said Dennis, who has a Bachelors in sociology from Georgia State University, but works as a teacher’s aide, or “parapro” for special needs children at South Central Middle School in Emerson.
Dennis, who applied in August 2005 to Habitat, learned in July that she had been selected. “I was just praying. I knew God knew how bad I wanted and needed that house, and I had faith that I would get picked,” Dennis says.
Robin Hooker, executive director, Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity, says the Dennis family was selected, in part, because of their enthusiasm and willingness to partner with the organization. “They are such a kind and generous family, and are so excited about receiving the house. They will be excellent neighbors to have. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with BOC in providing a new home for a family in need,” Hooker said.
Habitat homes aren’t gifts. Once selected, recipients must complete several hundred “sweat equity” hours. They work at the Habitat store and work to build theirs and another recipient’s home. Dennis and daughter Desirrae, 20, have completed over 250 hours to date; after they complete 450 hours they’ll be able to move into their new home. Once the Dennis family moves in, she will pay an interest-free, monthly mortgage of $450 to Habitat for the next 30 years.
Dennis’ new, single family ranch house will have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen. Dennis says she plans to install an alarm system to alert her if Harold tries to exit, but says she is also excited about having a backyard, where her son can be outside safely and her grandchildren can play. They’ve got a small yard now, but other residents often throw trash in it and cars sometimes speed through the complex, Dennis said.
“I am going to enjoy the tranquility of having my own home. I’ll be able to call it mine, I’ll be able to secure my son and I’ll have a heritage to pass down,” Dennis said.
BOC is also putting down roots in Cartersville. The company is investing over $30 million to build an air separation plant in the Guyton Industrial Park on Peeple’s Valley Road. When the facility begins operating in 2007, the oxygen and nitrogen from the plant will be trucked to hospitals, food processors, metals and chemicals manufacturers in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Hank Moser, Southeast region vice president, BOC, leads the company’s involvement in the Habitat project. “We want to contribute to the community we are joining. What better way to do that than to provide a safer home for a hardworking mother and her family? We’re pleased to be able to invest in the future of Cartersville and its residents.”
The Linde Group is a world leading industrial gases and engineering company with more than 53,000 employees working in around 70 countries worldwide. Following the acquisition of The BOC Group the company has gases and engineering sales of approximately $15 billion. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.
For more information, please see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com
BOC Corporate Communications