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By Jim Cornelius
News Editor 

Habitat dedicates two new homes


Last updated 1/25/2022 at Noon

Jerry Baldock

Joyce Johns cuts the ribbon on her new Habitat for Humanity Home in the ClearPine subdivision.

Ryan Mantell and Joyce Johns can now lay their heads in new homes of their very own, thanks to the work of Sisters Habitat for Humanity and Heart of Oregon’s Youth Build program.

Members of both organizations and a variety of community members braved a biting wind last Thursday, January 20, to mark the dedication of the two new homes, located in the ClearPine subdivision at the northwest corner of Sisters.

The location represents a dream and a prayer fulfilled for Joyce Johns. She recalled that she had moved from Alaska and, “I was living in a Jeep and completely hoboing it.” She frequently walked through ClearPine from the Sisters Tie Trailhead to Fika Sisters Coffeehouse, and she dreamed of someday having a home in the neighborhood. She told the assemblage that she talked to God about it — and on Thursday she celebrated the fulfillment of her prayer after a three-and-a-half-year process. She now has a home right where she dreamed of being.

Ryan Mantell recalled growing up in a low-income household, believing that the dream of having a home of his own was unattainable. But through his own efforts and Habitat for Humanity, the dream was attainable after all — and he was trying to wrap his head around that on Thursday.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “This moment is weird — in a good way.”

His Habitat family partner, Jerry Hanford, expressed his appreciation for Ryan, noting that he stepped up to every need at all times. Hanford supplied Mantell with a basket of housewarming gifts, including bread, a Bible, a book on how to fix anything in your house, and a bottle of IPA. He noted, to the laughter of the crowd, that the items could be deployed in any order.

Jerry Baldock

Ryan Mantell, left, received housewarming gifts as his new Habitat for Humanity home was dedicated in Sisters last week.

The event also served as a graduation ceremony for a group of students in the Heart of Oregon YouthBuild program. That program provides an alternative setting for students for whom conventional public school classroom work doesn’t connect. They work hands-on in real-world building projects, while recovering and adding credits toward a GED or a high school diploma.

Sisters Habitat for Humanity has long partnered with the organization. Four cohorts totaling 35 youth worked on the two most recent buildings.

Nick Peckat told the assemblage, “I helped build this house and I’m back as a full-time AmeriCorps member.”

He reflected on the fact that his and his colleagues’ work means that two families are safe and happy in their new homes.

“That makes me more happy than anything in the world,” he said.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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