One of those keys went appropriately to the Keys family. Vickisha and her three children - Anthony, 15, Alex, 11, and Asia, 4 - were almost speechless upon crossing the threshold of their new home, one of four being built in Rivertown with the sweat equity of the owners.
"I can't even explain it," Vickisha said as she toured the four-bedroom, two-bath home. "This is the first time the kids will have their own rooms. It took us five years of applying. We were denied a couple of times. The whole process was a struggle, but it was all worth it. I encourage all minority groups, especially the African-Americans, to apply for these homes."
"I like that I have my own room," said Alex, who also likes the home's beige carpet.
The other home dedicated on Saturday belongs to the Gildo family - Victor, Elizabeth, Maricella, 6, and Victor, Jr., 16 months.
"We are so excited! We have been living with my mother, all cramped up in one room," said Elizabeth.
"I am so proud," said Victor, a professional carpenter with RST Construction in Pittsburg. He was awarded a plaque for racking up more than 2,000 hours of sweat equity building his home. "I would like to thank Habitat and all the volunteers who helped out. It was a wonderful experience for us. I am committed to help build the two other homes in the corner."
Nancy Adams, Mount Diablo Habitat for Humanity interim executive director, also thanked all the volunteers, many of whom were there to cheer on the new homeowners. Adams acknowledged the efforts of construction manager Sam Charles and volunteer site supervisor Mike Collen.
"I have had volunteers who have never used a hammer and a nail. But they keep coming back because they want to help, and they don't want to be defeated," Collen said. "Today, the same volunteers can build me a wall, and they build it well."
Pointing to little Victor, Jr., Collen added, "I do it for them - so they may have a home."
"The volunteers have lots of fun here," said Adams. "We have two more houses to finish. We would like to welcome you all to help out."
Brownie troops and the Lutheran community presented house-warming gifts that included toys, cleaning supplies and painted kids' furniture.
For more information, call Mt. Diablo Habitat for Humanity at 288-0112, ext. 19 or visit www.mt diablohabitat.org.