Family gets help from inmates to build new home

Kristina Harris and her children Marie, Allisa and Lawson Gardipy perform a sod-turning ceremony on the site of their future home in Duck Lake on Friday morning. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Kristina Harris calls her childhood street Lagoon View Drive.

It’s really 7 Street in Duck Lake, but it has a brilliant view of the sunsets that form over the sloughs in the farm field nearby.

About five years ago, she moved back into her mother’s house there, bringing her three kids with her. It gets crowded. Thirteen year old Allisa has to share a room with her grandma. That makes it pretty hard to have sleepovers with her friends.

So Harris applied for help from Habitat for Humanity in building her own home. This Friday, her family turned up the first bit of dirt on the site of her future property – right next door to her mom’s, on Lagoon View Drive.

“It’s just a really good feeling to know that this is my home, my and my children’s home,” she said. “Having my kids being able to grow up with their grandmother right next door, I think is very important. Family is important.”

The project is getting funding from a lot of places – the feds, the province, Husky Energy. But the people who will really make the house a reality are a group of federal inmates from the Willow Cree Healing Lodge.

Kyle, who’s two years into a four year sentence, said he’s already put in about 300 hours with Habitat projects. Building a house, he said, gives him “a feeling of pride.”

“Doing time, you kind of feel depressed and stuff,” he said. “Working here boosts my confidence. My family back home are proud of me for working.”

For more on this story, see the May 20 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.