Construction started about three months late.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers were already tired from Project Helping Hands, a building they’d just completed in September.

Money was tight. They weren’t even sure if they’d have enough to finish the job.

But the Nash family’s home was completed two weeks ahead of schedule, just in time for Christmas.

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On Dec. 20, Chuck, Rachelle, Desirea, Jordan and Nate Nash welcomed volunteers and supporters into their living room.

“I kind of think this as the miracle house. It’s the house that really shouldn’t have been built this year,” Habitat for Humanity board President Denny Kubal told the group gathered to dedicate the home on Brocks Lane.

“We never start a home in October. If you have any brains, you don’t start a home in October in Indiana because you got the weather to deal with,” he said.

Construction was called off only one or two days because of rain.

“When we build in July and August, we miss more days than that,” Kubal said.

When building began, Habitat was more than $20,000 short.

“We shouldn’t have started it,” Kubal said. “But the board met and we made a commitment to this family. Somebody said, ‘We’re going to do the house. We don’t know where the money is coming from, but this house is going to be built on hard work and faith.’”

Members of Church of the Lakes, the family’s church, came one day each week to build as well as provide food for workers.

Brown County Junior High School teachers of Desirea, the family’s oldest child, came to help on an October Sunday. Cummins provided workers, too, Kubal said.

In the end, 200 people donated 1,792 hours. The family put in 290 hours — over their required 250. Rachelle was there every Wednesday on her day off.

The family was scheduled to move in the first week of January.

Rachelle asked Kubal two weeks ago if they could move sooner because of the increasing costs of heating bills at their old double-wide modular — more than $1,000 a month.

The family also ran out of water, the ceiling was falling in and the house had many electrical problems.

Kubal wasn’t sure they could make it happen. They still had to go through the closing process and the county inspection and finish some construction.

“I thought about the meeting we had and said, ‘Keep the faith.’ Full speed ahead,” he said.

It was completed Dec. 16.

The weekend before Christmas, it was dedicated as a Christian home. Georgia Harris, Marilyn Fagg and Ruth Jarrett read scriptures as they blessed the family room, kitchen and bedrooms.

The Q.U.I.L.T.S. group donated quilts for all three children and their parents. The Nashville United Methodist Church gave each a set of sheets for the beds in their new rooms.

Delbert Crocker led the group in a rendition of “Bless this House” followed by “Jingle Bells” as Kubal, family selection committee chair Emily Stone and other volunteers — all in Santa hats — brought in Christmas presents.

Stone started collecting money within her own family to help buy them. “Then the community just kind of came together and we raised a ton of money. We were able to get a lot of really good stuff. Merry Christmas to the Nash family,” Stone said, placing them under the tree.

“This is by far the best Christmas,” Rachelle said, the children lined up beside her. “Thank you guys very much.”

Habitat's thank-you list

Individuals: Frank Rogoyski, construction team leader; David Sisson, construction manager; Karen Smith; John Werner, volunteer coordinator; Bill Walters; Dave Richard; Verne Sindlinger; Ralph Linscott; Larry Kolar; Bill Bardes

Construction teams: Big Woods Brewing Company (labor and food),  Cummins Engine Company, Toyota, Church of the Lakes

Donated services: Sweetwater Plumbing; Doug Miller; Mark Smith; Eric Steining, Experience Technology; Richard Sapp; Dennis Huntington; Buddy Greller, South Central Appraisals; Wanda Jones, attorney; Steve Mollo, Brown County Abstract

Meals: St. David’s Episcopal Church, Church of the Lakes, Nashville United Methodist Church

Major grants and gifts: South Central Indiana REMC, Brown County Community Foundation, Toyota

Ongoing support: St. David’s Episcopal, Nashville United Methodist, Nashville Christian Church, Bean Blossom Mennonite Church

Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.