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Wilson County’s Habitat’s first house gets spring makeover

By Laurie Everett leverett@mtjulietnews.com • Updated May 9, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Juanita Johnson’s cottage in Lebanon got a spring makeover Thursday. Her abode was built 20 years ago and was the very first Habitat for Humanity house built in Wilson County. Hundreds have been built since by the non-profit that builds homes for those who need a hand-up.

Now, on the anniversary of her “house building,” and on Keller Williams Reality’s RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate), dozens of realtors converged on Johnson’s home to landscape and revitalize the house that has aged gracefully through the years.

Each year, on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of Keller William’s associates from across the United States and Canada participate in wide range of projects, devoting their time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which they serve. Last year, the Mt. Juliet Keller Williams group cleaned up the Mt. Juliet Little League Park after a hard tornado hit. This year, Johnson’s home was the object of attention, as well as organizing habitat ReStore in Lebanon. They split their time.

“We just wanted to give Ms. Johnson’s landscape a spring makeover,” said Keller Williams realtor Kathy O’Brien-Streets.  “It was amazing our RED Day was on the 20th anniversary of her house being built. It was perfect timing.”

O’Brien-Streets and over 20 of her fellow associates landscaped the entire front of Johnson’s house with plants donated from Mt. Juliet’s Needham’s Nursery. According to associate Jamie Crews, landscaper Ken English dug out garden spots in the front and the associates set to work digging. Also, Johnson’s back deck got a “re-do.” Lots of other sprucing was done as well.

Johnson was overwhelmed and resting because she was assigned to speak at the Habitat ReStore gala Thursday evening at Capitol Theatre in Lebanon.

Crews said Johnson expressed she felt “blessed that the Lord granted this for her.”

“She’s very humbled and grateful,” she said.

Johnson peeked out the front door. She had a big smile on her face at all the work done in her yard.

“I feel so good about this,” she said. “I’ve just loved living here. I’m so grateful.”

She’ll pay off her mortgage in July. She’s raised three children in the house, and overcame cancer. She said it’s her “life home.”

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