KILLEEN (December 2, 2012)--It's the holiday shopping season, but Killeen residents were doing a different kind of holiday shopping today: they bought a few inches of space on pieces of wood to leave their mark on a future Habitat for Humanity home for a family of six.
For the first time, members of the community, for a $5 donation, could stop by the building site to leave some words of encouragement and be a part of house No. 65.
"I hope the words can seep into the beams, and the family can feel the love as the walls are built as they began their lives here," Leana Gonzalez said.
Earl Johnson is a single father of five teenagers who says he is excited to start living in the home when it's ready in the spring of 2013.
"We've just been doing what we had to do to survive," Earl said.
"It's a good foundation for the kids to know we will have somewhere to call home and not have to move anymore."
Earl and his family are from Mississippi, and they moved to Killeen to be closer to Earl's older brother, Willie.
Big brother Willie has been helping Earl and his family put in some hours for their habitat for humanity home.
"I'm honored, and he's so blessed," Willie said.
"He started out staying with me, then got an apartment, each step leading him to where he is now."
Those who've worked tirelessly volunteering say it's more than walls and beams.
Each mark is evidence that it takes a community to turn a house into a home.