Michael, a U.S. Military Veteran and electrical journeyman of 35 years, achieved his goal of homeownership on October 26th, 2020. “I was scared when I walked in” says Michael, “I’ve been knocked down a couple of times, so I was so happy and surprised that I was one of three [families] chosen to move on with the [Habitat] program. Having [future Habitat homeowners] Qwauna and Lacey go through this with me gave me so much hope and motivation. We’ve had the chance to really do something here. To get into a home and leave a legacy behind.”
Joining the Habitat program in 2019, Michael, with his positive attitude (a legacy from his parents), has become a light among the other partner families and construction crew. He recalls his dad being the helpful man behind the scenes working to keep them afloat, arriving at church events when it was time to set up or break down. His mother was on the frontlines, always making sure everyone in the neighborhood had enough to eat and always volunteering for her church. “My mom is my biggest inspiration,” he says, “My mom worked so hard for our family and community. I’ve faltered, but now I can fix that. I can keep my kids together. My mom set the bar high and now I have to raise it.”
Michael is the father to five daughters and grandfather to a dozen grandchildren. His daughter Mary and her five children will live with him. “All my daughters pitched in and volunteered on the house, but Mary took all the financial classes with me,” said Michael. “Going through mentoring classes with Mary really made us butt heads, but it also made us a lot closer. We talked about our values and boundaries and it made us have more respect for one another. That is the happiest part in this. We have the opportunity to all be together as a family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I haven’t seen that since I was a kid.”
Michael earned his Bachelors degree in Human Services and has plans to work on his Masters degree now that he has stable housing and he wants to give back. “ This experience has given me more goals.” he says, “I have learned to work towards something. My employers see that I am stable and others will see that too. This gives Mary the opportunity to finish school and go on to nursing school. She can concentrate on her goals, on her life skills, and I can help her along the way.”
We are so excited to continue watching Michael’s legacy unfold as a father, electrician, and Habitat homeowner.