Success story

Then & Now: A Partner Family Success Story

March 6, 2019--One thing Ruby has learned in the nearly 20 years since becoming a Habitat partner family is how to put the past behind her and focus on the new life that she’s built for herself. It hasn’t been easy and she’ll be the first to admit that. It still brings tears to her eyes when she talks about it.

“I had pretty much given up on ever being a homeowner,” she said. “When (North Willamette Valley Habitat) chose me that was huge.”

Her path to Habitat is long and winding, one marred with the loss of a child, addiction, abusive relationships and a felony conviction. She speaks candidly about her past and how her relationship with God changed her life.

She remembers receiving an informational card about Habitat in the mail on her birthday. She took that as a sign that she should learn more about the program and that’s exactly what she did. As it turned out, she qualified for the program and was selected as a partner family in 2003. Two of her children and one grandchild was living with her at the time.

For Ruby, that card was just the first sign that she was meant to have a Habitat home. The construction manager at the time was named Michael Jesse. She had two sons, one named Michael, who died at age 14, and another one named Jesse. In addition, her home was one of the first “teen builds” in the area. A group of teenagers helped build the home, alongside our core construction volunteers.   

“To see all these teenagers come and work on the house, it was like my life was being rebuilt,” she said. It was very healing for me.”

Ruby has been sober for 20 years now and she remains grateful for her Habitat home and the stability it has provided for her and her family over the years.

“I feel that God has given me a second chance and I don’t take that lightly,” she said.

If her home’s walls could talk, it would literally be the word of God. She wrote scripture on the construction studs when the home was framed.

She’s 58 now and there are traces of gray in her hair, but her smile is as wide as the day she received the keys to her Habitat home in Silverton.

“This home is my save haven,” she said. “I feel God’s peace here”