Although it was bitterly cold outside, family and friends gathered outside Chelsey Koopman’s new Habitat for Humanity home on Latoka Beach Road NW watching as she cut the ribbon on the front door.

The ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held Monday, Nov. 11. As soon as the ribbon cutting was done, the group was ushered inside for a tour, brief ceremony and prayer blessing from Koopman’s pastor, Jon Ewton from Lake Community Church. The actual dedication ceremony took place later at Lake Community Church.

Koopman had a surprise for the crew leader of her house, Randy Hansen. The house was a Women’s Build project, where the majority of the building was done by groups of women. Those women, she said, often wore the pink “Women Build” T-shirts.

“Randy doesn’t wear pink,” Koopman said, adding that he often only wore gray or black shirts. Koopman presented him with a gray shirt that had pink, sparkly letters on the back that read: “Randy’s Women Build Shirt.”

“Thank you for being my rock,” she told him as she presented the shirt to him. Koopman added that during the house building project, he had seen her at her worst. There were days he would just sit down and hug her, which she said was what she really needed.

She also said she has plans to get a grill so he could come and grill supper for her.

Hansen smiled and laughed, and then looking at Koopman said, “I’ve been told I’ll be back to visit.”

Rich and Jen Rentz, Koopman’s mentors throughout the process, were also on hand at the ribbon cutting.

“We are amazed and happy to see all the love and support for you today. It does take a village,” said Jen Rentz. “Chelsey, you are so strong and resilient. We wish you the best and are so glad we had the opportunity to mentor you.”

Since 1997, Habitat for Humanity has improved or built 68 homes in the Douglas County area. The group has also completed 20 aging in place homes. On average, three to four Habitat homes are built each year.

It usually takes anywhere from two and a half to three months for a build. Koopman’s home was started July 22 and finished on Sept. 30.