TULSA - Tulsa Habitat for Humanity marked a milestone this weekend.
The organization handed over keys to its 300th family, and the new owner calls having her own home a dream come true.
Tulsa Habitat held a dedication ceremony Saturday for Brandi Ellison, a pre-school teacher with a young daughter named Jordyn. Ellison now owns the 300th home built by the group, and she finally got to unlock the front door to her new three-bedroom home in west Tulsa.
"Ever since I was little, that was my dream to get married, own my home and have kids," she said. "I kind of did it out of step, but you know we're here."
Ellison calls home ownership one of the biggest milestones of her life.
"It's just another chapter in my life that's complete," she said, "something that's completed I can mark off my list of things to do."
Ellison claims she would have failed to reach this goal without the help and support of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity and its countless volunteers.
"She's just one of the best people," said Paul Kent, the Tulsa Habitat for Humanity executive director. "Anybody that sets a goal with Habitat and accomplishes it, really they're all great people and so we're delighted to have Brandi as a new home buyer."
About 150 volunteers from Saint Bernard Clairvaux Parish in Tulsa helped Ellison build her home in eight weeks. She got to thank some of those volunteers Saturday at the dedication ceremony.
"They're special. They're like a second family to me," Ellison said about the church members while wiping away tears. "Without Saint Bernard, it wouldn't be possible, so I really am grateful for them and appreciate everything that they've done. I'm just really grateful."
People brought Ellison a few house-warming gifts, too, including flowers for her new garden and a blanket for her daughter. She plans to move in Sunday and Monday, which she says will feel surreal but satisfying.
"I remember putting this dry wall in. I remember painting and putting in countless hours," Ellison said. "To be here and living here, it's a big deal."
Ellison will soon begin paying on her 20-year, zero-interest mortgage through Tulsa Habitat for Humanity.
The organization next plans to build eight homes for eight families in 16 days through its Super Blitz 2014 project. All the work will begin Friday, May 30, and Tulsa Habitat needs hundreds of volunteers. If anyone is interested in helping this large-scale building project, follow this link .