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New facility to house Hands, Habitat for Humanity

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A grand opening and open house for The Cryer Center on Route 33 near Locust Hill will be held on January 24 at 1:30 p.m. It will be a service-based facility owned by Hands Across Middlesex and Habitat for Humanity Middlesex. In front of the new building above are, front from left, Hands Across Middlesex president Penny Lawson and Ed Fisher of Habitat for Humanity; and, back row, Habitat president Lyle Predmore and David Cryer of the Urbanna area who, along with his wife Linda, donated all the funds to build the new facility. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

Grand opening is Sunday, January 24

Other service groups
also will benefit

Older residents of the Topping area recall with fondness the early 20th-century holiday decor and joyful spirit of Christmas found at T.Y Lawson’s Country General Merchandise store, which was located across Route 33 from Harmony Grove Baptist Church. 

The two-story wooden building is gone now, but where the old store once stood is a new, much more dynamic Christmas message for the entire county of Middlesex. 

A new modern Christmas package in the form of a community-based service facility is about to be unwrapped. It will house offices and supplies for several charity organizations in the community and is owned by Hands Across Middlesex and Habitat for Humanity Middlesex.

David and Linda Cryer of the Urbanna area donated all the funds for the building, fixtures, furniture, computers and other supplies inside the facility, which is appropriately named “The Cryer Center”

For years, Hands and Habitat have struggled with inadequate space in an effort to serve low-income families in the county. The Cryers’ gift has solved that problem and much more.

Hands provides clothing, furniture, food, home repairs and emergency assistance to those in need. 

Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to providing basic home ownership to qualified residents—one house at a time.

The local Habitat group has built four houses in the county for working poor families who can’t afford conventional home financing. The houses are built with all volunteer labor and donations from contractors and others, said Ed Fisher of Habitat.

The Cryer Building also will be used by The Laurel Shelter for providing emergency services to those in crisis or need; by the American Red Cross for providing help during natural and personal emergencies; by Court Appointed Special Advocates for providing a voice for children in crisis; by the Northern Neck Free Clinic for providing medical care to those without access; and by the Peninsula Center for Independent Living that provides services to individuals with disabilities.

There is room in the new facility for a food bank, a furniture and clothing barn with display racks and shelves, a room just to store prom dresses and space for young ladies to come get a dress, put on makeup and get their hair done at prom time.

There are bathrooms and showers for emergency use and everything is handicap accessible.

There is also a large room for an unknown future use. “We wanted to plan ahead for other needs,” said David Cryer, who indicated he is talking with the MCV Dental Clinic about using the room to provide dental services to low income families in the area.

There also is room in the building for the storage of Habitat building materials and for a “restore” that may be used by Habitat organizations in five counties.  A Habitat restore is a facility where donated materials are taken in and then resold as a donation. The Cryer Center would receive 20% from restore sales to help run the facility and the Habitat organization selling the product would receive 80%.

Lyle Predmore, president of Habitat for Humanity Middlesex, said that this facility will be a tremendous asset for “not just Middlesex, but the entire region.”

Penny Lawson, president of Hands Across Middlesex, said the new building will “be an unbelievable facility and it would have never happened if not for the generosity of David and Linda Cryer.”

“This was something that my wife and I wanted to do,” said Cryer. “We wanted to make sure this was a gift to the county and to the region. We did not want it to cost a cent to these groups because they do good deeds. They are going to continue to need donations for their work, but now they have a nice facility to work from.”

The grand opening of The Cryer Center will be on Sunday, January 24, at 1:30 p. m. with a short ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

posted 12.22.2009

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