“Keep it together, Keep it together,” thats what Blake O'Dell was thinking as he stood on Wednesday, June 27, in an emotional ceremony that would change his family's life forever.

“Keep it together, Keep it together,” thats what Blake O'Dell was thinking as he stood on Wednesday, June 27, in an emotional ceremony that would change his family's life forever.
Blake, his wife, Laurie, and four children, Clayton, 12; Brayden, 10; Ashtyn, 4; and Adellyn, 3; were standing with dozens of community leaders, church pastors and others in the front room of the house at 1021 S. River St. that was about to become their home.
The ceremony, hosted by the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, was to dedicate the home and hand over the keys and a new family Bible to the O'Dells, and send them on their way into a new future with a new sense of security, and something more.
“Roots, that's what it's all about,” Blake O'Dell said. “My parents did a pretty decent job and kept us in town, but we kind of moved around every few years. My wife, she's used to bouncing around. It was one of those things I always wanted but never really got, the fact that I know where to go all the time, it's that same place, it's where I grew up. Now I can give my kids that place, this is where they'll grow up, this is where we come from. No matter where we spread out to later in life, this is still home, this is where the roots are.”

150th home
The ceremony marked a milestone for the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity. It was the group's 150th completed home.
Habitat Chairman Fred Osborn said Habitat homes are built on partnerships, and this home, the group's fourth in Carthage, is no exception.
“Some who aren't as familiar with Habitat as some of you who are here don't understand how many people it takes to build a Habitat home, how many organizations it takes to build a Habitat home, how many contractors, others, and of course the family with their sweat equity,” Osborn said. “It's just amazing when this all comes together, I told people who are soliciting to be board members, I say you have to go to a home dedication because it really brings home what this is all about. Blake, you and Laurie, I wish you the best of luck, this is going to be a wonderful home.”

Built on Faith
Habitat Director Scott Clayton declared last year that this build had a theme, “Building on Faith,” and that theme spoke about the partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Carthage churches.
Habitat partnered with the Carthage Nazarene Church, First Christian Church, BYKOTA Church and Grace Episcopal Church, along with H.E. Williams Co., in a series of volunteer work days to help the contractor get this home built in about eight months.
“It is a privilege to be with you and look around, it's pretty remarkable how the Lord has put all this together,” said Carthage Nazarene Pastor Dustin Ledford. “I am so thankful for the unity of the churches in town, we have a great partnership of churches here in Carthage and I'm thankful for each one. It's a privilege to be able to be here with you today.”
Lori O'Dell said the theme was particularly appropriate for their family.
“I thought it was really cool that we were the house built on faith because our lives revolve around our faith, so that was really cool for me,” O'Dell said. “We could say thank you and that wouldn't even be enough.”
We just really appreciate you blessing us with a home we can call our own. Thank you, thank you to every one.”