Towne Salute: Larry & Peggy Neviaser of Habitat for Humanity Choptank
Jan 18, 2018 09:23AM ● Published by Caley Breese
Larry and Peggy met at Ohio University and have lived in Talbot County for 38 years in several different towns, currently Tilghman. Peggy has a background in education, working across age groups from nursery school to the college level. She also owned a bookstore in Easton for four years. Larry was in the automobile business and owned the Toyota and Dodge dealership in Easton for 26 years. Both now work in real estate.
Larry started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 1996 by becoming a member of the board of directors. He also served as president of the board for two terms and vice president for two terms. His overall board tenure spanned 10 years. While he left his position for a while due to business, he recently rejoined the board. Larry’s dedication earned him the designation of Emeritus board member.
“I really believed in, and still believe in, the mission of Habitat,” Larry says. “After 25 years, it’s done a lot of good.”
Peggy joined him in 1998, participating with the first Women Build House—a house constructed completely by women. She was an active member of the partnership committee, serving as chair for 10 years. She also assisted in rewriting the handbook for the committee. Additionally, in 2005, she won the very first Founder’s Award for Volunteer Service from Habitat.
“The partnership committee is exactly what it sounds like,” Peggy explains. “You partner with a family through the home-ownership process. You serve as a mentor to them because this is all new—they’ve [the family] never done this.”
Peggy currently coordinates “Raise the Roof,”a newsletter that goes out to
the families and homeowners, keeping them up-to-date with Habitat happenings and community events, which also includes tips on how homeowners can maintain their houses.
Habitat for Humanity Choptank was founded in Talbot County in 1992 and, at the time, was called Habitat for Humanity of Talbot County. Habitat for Humanity Choptank now works with both Talbot and Dorchester County. Its goal is to transform the lives of families and individuals in the community.
“The mission is to help people secure simple, decent, and affordable homes that they can own,” Larry explains. “So, if [the family] qualifies for a home, it means they can’t obtain conventional financing of any kind.”
The nonprofit organization has completed 75 homes in its 25 years. Additionally, according to Larry, there has only ever been one foreclosure.
When someone shows an interest in becoming a homeowner through Habitat, they must put in sweat equity hours as part of the home-buying process. Sweat equity for the homeowner is essentially volunteering on-site building their home or helping build other Habitat houses. Depending on the size of family, 300–400 hours of sweat equity is required.
“Habitat provides the opportunity for home ownership and community,” Larry says. “It’s really created a lot of good in the community for a long time.”
Although the duo has been with Habitat for about 20 years, their efforts are far from over.
“It’s just one of those things, it’s feel-good,” Peggy smiles. “It just makes you feel good to know that you’re helping someone get a home, which is very essential. When you see those people outside in the community at the grocery store or on the street and they give you a big hug, it really makes an impact. You’ve done something good for them, but then they make you feel good too.”
For more information on Habitat for Humanity Choptank, visit Habitatchoptank.org
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