Lisa Ross's life has been filled with ups and downs.
But things are now looking up for Ms. Ross as she prepares to become a new homeowner in Thomson.
Ms. Ross has been selected to become the newest recipient of a new home from the Thomson-McDuffie County Habitat for Humanity.
A special groundbreaking ceremony, which brought out several volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, including Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry and others, was held on First Avenue -- site of the new home -- last Sunday afternoon.
"I know you're happy to see this day come," said Mike Greenwell, president of the Thomson-McDuffie Habitat for Humanity, as he looked at Ms. Ross, who was accompanied by the youngest of her three daughters, Crashekia Durham, 6.
"It's going to feel so good to have my own home," said Ms. Ross, who currently lives with an uncle and his family on Rabun Road in McDuffie County.
Ms. Ross found out last April that she had been chosen as the next recipient of a new home by local officials with Habitat for Humanity.
"When I heard the news I couldn't believe it," said Ms. Ross. "It feels so good. It's real special. I thank God, first. I've prayed for a new home for a long time. And now that prayer is answered. I just thank God and all of these wonderful people for making this happen."
Ms. Ross lost her job at the TRW plant in neighboring Warrenton when the plant closed. She then worked two part-time jobs to make ends meet for herself and three daughters. She later worked for several months at Fort Gordon before becoming employed at the Kelloggs' plant in Augusta, where she works as a cookie packer.
"She's a hard-worker," said Cindy Greenwell, who serves as secretary of the local Habitat for Humanity. "That was one of the things that impressed me about her right away."
Norris Long, another official with the local Habitat for Humanity program, said Ms. Ross' new home will mark the sixth house to be built in Thomson. The group has plans to build four more homes in the same area where Ms. Ross' will become a reality by January 2011.
"This is exciting for us and we certainly hope exciting for Ms. Ross and her family," said Mr. Long, a longtime Thomson resident and a retired education administrator.
Mr. Greenwell praised city officials for their support of the project through the years.
"Thomson is a very mission-oriented town," said Mr. Greenwell. "The City of Thomson has gone beyond and above the call of duty to help make these homes a reality."
Mayor Usry said he and other city officials are pleased to be part of such a program.
A number of improvements have been made in the area where Ms. Ross' new home will be built, said Mayor Usry.
Many of those improvements were made possible through funding from a Community Development Block Grant. Such improvements involved storm drainage and sewer issues. A second phase of the CDBG will involve rehabilitation of several homes in the area, the mayor added.
"This is a community effort, trying to promote homeownership," said Mayor Usry. "This is to show that we're kicking it off in a positive way."
There currently are five families living in homes built by local volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.
To donate to Thomson-McDuffie County Habitat for Humanity, write to: P.O. Box 1701, Thomson, GA. 30824.