Homeowner Barbara Alexander and Our Towns Executive Director Jeff Porter work on placing floor boards on Saturday morning.
'God bless them all'
BY AMY FUHRMAN
Barbara Alexander is no stranger to hard work.
For the past year, the single mother has been working five days a week, then spending her Saturdays pouring her remaining energy into building homes for others.
This Saturday, she was working to lay the floor in what will soon be a home for herself and her 8-year-old son. Alongside her were four other women, earning sweat equity hours toward their own homes through Our Towns Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s a long process,” Alexander said Saturday over the sounds of saws and hammers. "It’s not a handout. You work for it and it makes you appreciate it even more.”
Among the volunteers hard at work on Saturday were employees of Wells Fargo, which donated $15,000 toward Alexander’s home through its Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. Donations like that were once fairly rare for Habitat projects in Statesville, but since the local organization merged with Our Towns, local projects have been able to share in support from corporations like Wells Fargo.
Also at work on Saturday was Our Towns Executive Director Jeff Porter, who has shepherded Statesville's Habitat through the merger and has watched what was once a stretch of road with a few homes in Fourth Creek Village turn into a true community. Alexander’s home marks the 11th for the well-named street — Partnership Way.
For Porter, who was pastor at First Baptist Church before accepting the position with Habitat, the organization’s mission is a perfect extension of his faith.
“Part of our vision is to make it morally, socially, politically and religiously unacceptable to have anyone living in substandard housing,” Porter said, noting that Habitat is truly about “faith in action.”
At the back of the house, Alexandria Heaggans was putting down the floor boards in what will likely be the bedroom for Alexander’s son. She’s working her way through her sweat equity hours, and hopes to see a home built for herself and her two children, ages 6 and 4, by the end of the year.
Heaggans, like Alexander, said it has been difficult as a single mother to put in the extra hours on the weekends, but said it is definitely worth the sacrifices.
“It is worth it,” she said. “It’s something to work toward."
When asked, Alexander couldn’t name just one person she was most appreciative of. Instead, she looked around, taking in the single mothers, bank executives, teenagers and other community members, all working side-by-side to make her dream of a home a reality.
“All of them," she said. "I am so grateful for the volunteers. I hope God will bless all of them.”