Muranda O'Gary usually won't let you see her cry.
The 28-year-old didn't have time for that as she waited tables, powered through night school and cared for her young daughter, Kyla. In addition, she put in more than 600 work hours in the past year to help build her new home.
On Saturday morning amid some 30 friends, family and supporters under a vaulted ceiling in her soft-gray living room, O'Gary couldn't hold back her emotions any longer.
"People may not realize this organization is doing so much more than building homes," she said through tears, about Habitat for Humanity. "My life is forever changed after today."
The 1,200-square-foot home with classy black shutters and white trim at the end of Wedgewood Avenue is more than a home for the single mom and her bouncy 4-year-old — it represents a sense of stability and hard-won pride.
O'Gary made huge strides in her life in the past few years waiting tables to pay for school tuition to become a medical assistant at MarillacHealth. She doesn't earn enough in her new career path however, to afford a traditional loan so she applied in February 2018 to be a recipient of a home through Habitat for Humanity Mesa County.
To her surprise, O'Gary was chosen and started work with Habitat last April. Since then, she and volunteer crews put in more 1,750 hours constructing the home. After investing sweat equity, homeowners make reasonable mortgage payments to pay off loans.
O'Gary's home marks the 75th Habitat for Humanity home in Mesa County and it's located in the Hoffman Country Estates subdivision off D Road where dozens more Habitat homes are slated for construction in coming years.
The work was difficult, O'Gary said, and she often went home sore, dirty and tired after digging dirt or painting. The homebuilding process, coupled with working full time, left space for little else.
"I have a lot of sleep to catch up on," she laughed.
O'Gary's mother also lives in a Habitat home nearby, so the family will be close.
After the speeches, gifts and dedication, the crowds thinned out leaving O'Gary to her brand-new home. She planned to move in later Saturday and had scheduled three days off work to nest and soak it all in.
"I still don't feel like this is my house," she said, looking around. "It still hasn't hit me yet. I'm pretty proud of myself."