Most people kick off the Memorial Day weekend by taking an extra day off from work to gather the family and head to the beach or their favorite vacation spot for the weekend. Kids are out of school and many people are looking forward to the beginning of summer. On Friday, May 27th, that wasn't the case for the 2005 Jaguars HabiJax Build Team, consisting of Jaguars front office staff, players and ROAR cheerleaders. They kicked off the Memorial Day weekend literally building a house for a Jacksonville woman and her daughter, with help from HabiJax.
Friday was a special day for LaTonya Edwards and her teenage daughter. There were several requirements LaTonya had to meet before residing in a HabiJax home. One of them is that she must invest a minimum of 300 hours of labor, called "sweat equity," into the construction of her home and other HabiJax homes.
Out with the rest of them, LaTonya was getting her hands dirty.
"I'm so excited they're helping me build my house. I never thought this would happen to me," LaTonya said about the Jaguars players.
The 2005 Jaguars HabiJax Build Team put in a full day's work in helping a member of the community see her dreams become a reality. Jaguars offensive tackle Maurice Williams had this to say about the project:
"It's pretty cool being out here. To help make a dream come true, help build a house for HabiJax; the Jaguars take a strong interest in that. It feels good to come out and give my time and energy to help make a dream come true. It's a blessing to be able to do that…knowing they will have a sound roof over their heads."
The team couldn't have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect and everyone involved felt it was very much worth the hard work it entailed. As the build team arrived at the site they came upon a lot with only a concrete foundation. They literally put up the exterior and exterior frame to the house and put up the exterior walls.
"Building a home and helping someone in need, "said first year wide receivers coach Steve Walters, "is a good opportunity to help in the community and a way to help do something good for the community. Our jobs take up a lot of our time and we like to have the opportunity to get out and do something like this."
As the day came to an end, the volunteers walked away with a smile, but not before they each signed their names to the frame of the house. Some would call it leaving a lasting impression for LaTonya and her family to remember for a long time to come.
The mission of HabiJax (Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc.) is to eliminate poverty and substandard housing conditions in Duval County by working in cooperation with God's people in need, without regard to race or religion, to create a better habitat in which to live and work.