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Spece house set on foundation

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 02/06/2014 12:11 PM

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QUASQUETON, Iowa — "You see a house sitting there, and it's pretty amazing," said Sue Spece.

On Jan. 13, a crew from All American Homes in Dyersville set the Spece family's new home on the foundation in four sections.

After a month of wind, snow and cold days, volunteers with Building a Dream in the Country weren't sure when they would see the house delivered.

"What an amazing day it was," said Kathy Finholt, one of the founders of Building a Dream. "I love seeing the house when we come down from the north. The sections of the house started arriving shortly after 8 a.m. The crane crew showed up a few minutes after the first two house sections."

Building a Dream committee member Kathy Holt works in Independence, and she saw the house go through town and called Finholt to let her know it was coming. Committee member Shalon Frye followed the first two sections down the road.

"The set had been delayed by weather so many times that I wouldn't let myself get excited just in case it got delayed again," Finholt said. "When Kathy and Shalon called to say it was coming down the road, that is when the excitement hit. When I looked through the pictures and video later, there were a lot of tears."

Building a Dream in the Country formed with the goal of providing Sue Spece and her three wheelchair-bound adult children, Josh, Jackie and Jacob, with a safe, handicap-accessible home. With $175,000 raised toward a $200,000 goal, the committee is on its way to reaching that dream.

Finholt sees the project in three phases. They are well into the first phase — raising funds to provide a new home and move the family in. The second phase is raising funds to purchase and install a ceiling mounted lift system. The third phase is raising the funds to construct a garage that will protect Sue's kids from rain and snow as they enter and exit vehicles, and purchase and install voice activated features that will allow Josh, Jackie and Jacob, a little bit of independence.

Sue's children all have a devastating form of muscular dystrophy. In a small, dilapidated, non-accessible home, every morning begins with heavy lifting, as Sue physically picks up and dresses each child and carries them to their motorized wheelchairs. On snowy days, the morning continues with Sue shoveling 60 feet of wheelchair ramp, since there is no covered garage.

"Sue and her kids are the first to help with community projects, from cancer relays to food drives," Finholt said. "Her dedication and commitment have made her family an integral part of the Independence community."

The Speces' new house sits just off Quasqueton Diagonal Boulevard, between Quasqueton and Independence. It's just up the hill from In the County Garden and Gifts, the business Josh operates with Sue's help. Jacob's custom heifer business is just down the hill from the shop.

Sue has been able to climb into the house and take a look around, and she admits she's anxious to have everything finished.

Her kids are excited.