BURTON COMMUNITY – The Watson family has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
The family, made up of parents Karen and Daniel Watson and their seven children, received a new home on Sunday by members of their church and community.
The Watsons saw the finished home Sunday for the first time, complete with new furniture, a full pantry and Christmas decorations.
Much of the 2,400-square-foot home was filled with family, church members, volunteers and neighbors who came out to welcome the family to their new home.
“I want to thank everybody, from the bottom of our hearts,” Daniel said.
When Karen and Daniel Watson married a couple of years ago, they brought their own broods to the union: Karen with Caitlen, Justin and Kenedie, and Daniel with Little Daniel, Cheyenne, Annabell and Brandon. They were living in a small mobile home with barely enough room for the blended family.
Brother Earl McAnally, a pastor at Dennis United Methodist Church and special education teacher, taught Justin and Caitlen, who are handicapped and wheelchair-bound.
He invited the family to church, and when members of the congregation saw the Watsons’ home, they decided in May to build the family a more spacious, handicapped-accessible house.
Nancy Collier, project coordinator, said the home was built using donated materials and donated labor.
She and other members of the Dennis United Methodist Church – whose congregation is at about 60 – reached out to everyone they knew and had fundraisers to help pay for the house. The Watsons contributed labor.
“This is a complete community effort,” Collier said. “I was never turned down by anybody. Everybody I asked gave something.”
Daniel said he and his family couldn’t be more thankful.
“There are no words that can express it,” he said. “It’s awesome what God can do, and how He can work through others … It’s more than I could ever dream of.”
That afternoon, Karen hugged McAnally and, with tears in her eyes, told him, “It’s beautiful.”
The project not only helped the Watsons, but also bettered the church and community, McAnally said.
“I think the givers were just as blessed as the receivers,” he said.
Plenty of smiles went around as the Watsons toured their home Sunday.
The main living room uses Western decor, with lots of horses and cowboy hats. The kitchen is full of apple designs and red accents.
The master bedroom has a safari-type theme, while Caitlen and Justin’s handicapped-accessible room featured sports and Mickey Mouse designs. The siblings also have special beds built just for them. A handicapped-accessible bathroom is near their bedroom.
Kenedie, Cheyenne and Annabell’s room is decorated with princesses, butterflies and flowers, while Little Daniel and Brandon’s room has a cowboy theme. Family portraits dot the walls near the bedrooms.
When Kenedie saw the girls’ room for the first time, she shouted, “Oh my goodness!”
The Watsons’ new home is ready for the holidays. A fully decorated Christmas tree is up, and the family’s dinner table is set with holiday place settings, meaning less work for Karen.
And, Collier added, “Their pantry is full of food. They have their Thanksgiving meal – all she’ll have to do is fix it.”
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal