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Habitat for Humanity's 'Barton County's Got Talent' raises $17,000 for housing projects
new slt talent winners
Habitat Board Vice President Ryan Streck, right, presents the coveted hammer trophies to Judges Choice Award winner Taylor Fry, left, and Peoples Choice Award winner Ashlyn Prescott. Fry is a senior at Great Bend High School, and Prescott is a seventh-grade student at Great Bend Middle School. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

With only a few months left until Habitat for Humanity plans to break ground on its next building project, the nonprofit organization raised over $17,000 Saturday at the fourth annual “Barton County’s Got Talent” dinner theater.
“Hosting the event at Grace Community Church allowed us to seat as many as 515 people, so we were hoping to sell out this year,” said Habitat board president Rachel Mawhirter. “While we didn’t quite sell out, the house was packed and everyone seemed to have a great time. We’ve received rave reviews for the homemade meal, and everything went very smoothly.”
There were more than 20 acts, with most competing for the Judges’ Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award. The winner for the Judges’ Choice Award was Taylor Fry, a senior at Great Bend High School who won for her solo piano performance. The first-ever People’s Choice Award winner was Ashlyn Prescott, a seventh-grade student at Great Bend Middle School who won for her vocal solo.
This year’s judges were Tina Mingenback, Chris Curtwright and Blake Aaron Guthrie.
Following the talent competition, Guthrie took the stage to sing two songs from his most recent album. Then  CMA recording artist Jake Gill continued the “bonus concert.” Both artists signed autographs and sold merchandise after the show, with much of the proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity as well.
The Habitat for Humanity board of directors plans to start another project in Barton County before the end of the year. “Our chapter has built five homes since we were founded in 2001, but another option available to Habitat affiliates is a rehabilitation effort known as a Brushed with Kindness project,” Mawhirter said. “We don’t have any land to build on right now, so we are weighing our options to consider starting a BWK project in the near future.”
Anyone interested in applying to purchase a Habitat for Humanity home through a zero-interest mortgage needs to meet three requirements: financial or other type of obvious need, ability to repay, and willingness to put in 300 hours of volunteer service.
“A lot of people think that Habitat builds these houses so that we can give them away, but that is definitely not the case.” Mawhirter said. “Once the home is built, our partner family purchases the home from us like they would from any other lender. The difference is that when those payments start coming in, our board can use those funds to help yet another family. It’s like the donations just keep on giving.”
For information about how to apply to be a Habitat partner or to make a tax deductible donation, send e-mail to or send a letter to Habitat for Humanity, 3600 Broadway, Great Bend, KS  67530. Habitat for Humanity of Barton County is also on Facebook and Twitter.