Kentucky Family Spends Thanksgiving Building Habitat Homes

Brian Smith bears a striking resemblance to his father. But that's not the only similarity, between the two men. Brian also inherited his father's passion for building homes for those in need.

"This is certainly something special to our family," Brian Smith says. "This was something that my dad started."

His dad is Pat Smith, a Kentucky man who devoted nearly 20 years of his life, volunteering for the Lexington Habitat for Humanity, and serving on the International Board of Directors.

He spearheaded the project to build 13 Habitat homes for storm victims on South Carolina Avenue. Smith was heading to Gulfport, two days before the anniversary of Katrina, when he died in a tragic plane crash.

"My whole life changed, but life goes on," says his widow Jean Smith.

Jean Smith knew she had to pick-up where her husband left off.

"I'm here because Pat began this project last year, and it was really important for him," Smith says.

So the entire Smith family, along with more than 100 friends from central Kentucky, are spending Thanksgiving week working on homes in Gulfport.

"After the crash, it was like everybody came together," Smith says. "All the family and a lot of our friends decided they wanted to be part of it and to finish the project for him. I've enjoyed this week. I really have. It's one of the first things I've enjoyed in a while."

"It's something that's touched our family certainly without a doubt," says Brian Smith.

A touching tribute to a father, husband, friend, and hero. Pat Smith did not live to see his dream come true. But his family knows he's watching over them.

"He's certainly watching the entire project. Absolutely, he's trying to kick everybody and get them in gear," says Brian. "Yeah, he's definitely here."

The houses are scheduled to be dedicated on December 9th. Besides building homes, the Smith family and their friends will also serve a Thanksgiving feast to all Habitat homeowners and volunteers on Thursday.