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September 1, 2013

Lawrence natives win their dream home in Andover

ANDOVER — It truly is an answer to their prayers.

Osvaldo ‘Ozzy’ Morales, 29, and his wife Vonne, 26, would frequently drive by the house at 98 Andover St. on their way to visit relatives on Dale Street.

For over a year, students from the Greater Lawrence Technical School toiled on the three-bedroom home, which was being constructed for the Andover Community Trust as an affordable home.

“We watched the house for a year,” said Vonne, who is originally from Lawrence but now lives in Salem, N.H., with her husband and children. “We prayed about it. My son (Yandel) would go to daycare at our church and tell the other kids that God sent people to build our house.”

Recent converts to Christianity, the family is active in the Granite United Church, a Baptist congregation led by Pastor Courtland Holloway.

On the back deck of the new house Tuesday evening, as a soft breeze blew the warm summer air, Holloway made a brief speech to a gathering of about 20 friends, family and Andover Community Trust volunteers and board members.

“This is an amazing community effort,” he said. “This is an awesome dream that has been in the heart of a team. You guys made it happen.”

He added, “A house is just a house. Houses provide a home and I believe this young couple is going to provide a home for their children. A safe haven. What you guys are doing is incredible, pushing through the bureaucracy to make things work.”

The executive director of ACT, Susan Stott, credited the work of the organization’s president, John Pearson, along with clerk Joan Johnson and board members Blake Martin, David Lindsay and Tana Goldberg.

“These houses don’t fill themselves,” Stott said.

Johnson, in her remarks, noted that the board, which includes current occupants of other ACT homes in Andover, had a hard time deciding who to choose from among the six applicants.

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