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“Seeing homes being built for all the families before me goes to show that dedication and hard work pay off!”

Mary is a disabled Army Veteran, who is a proud mom to five-year-old, Aspen.  “He is just as positive and supportive as I am,” says Mary. She now works as an Employment Security Representative II at Career Source Pasco Hernando for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. She has been in this position for a year while staying in Social Services for the past four years.

Her son, Aspen, loves playing sports and learning how to play new ones. He also can play with Legos all day and loves to build towns with them. “He is a typical five-year-old boy, and will compete in anything. He is resilient and adapts to whatever we face.” The family previously entered into a homeless program to better their lives and get back on track. Mary completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, and says, “I could not have done it without the help of friends and family, but especially Aspen telling me I can do it.”

After going from a two-family income down to one, Mary had to leave behind her apartment leaving her homeless for a small amount of time. Although they received some help finding a housing program, it took time to get to where she is now. “Going through any rough financial period takes its toll. It has taken me years to get out of the hole we were in, and to this point of qualifying for Habitat. It has been a lot of hard work to get here.”

“When we were first accepted into Habitat, I didn’t think it was real. I was waiting for that second call to explain they made a mistake. They never did. Working on my own home will further instill dedication and motivation to continue on the track of homeownership.”

“Going from one extreme to another extreme will be so rewarding. Financial security was never in my vocabulary. Now we are at a point where our future has stability. Having a Habitat home will create a stable and happy environment that I dreamed about for my son. Having a home to call our own is so exciting!”

Mary cannot wait to have a washer and dryer in her home, and not have to do anymore laundromat runs with a small child. “I want a stable environment for my son. Home is wherever we are together.”

Mary leaves a word of advice to any Habitat volunteer: “I would tell any potential volunteer to look at the face of a homeowner on their dedication day. You can see the accomplishment, the pride, the pure joy, that not many people experience. Volunteering will make you not only see that but give you the feeling of being apart of the reason that look is on their face. It’s emotional and very fulfilling.”


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