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Habitat homeowner pays it forward by volunteering

By Jama Tighe

It wasn’t that long ago that Brandie was building her own Habitat house. But on this day, she’s paying it forward. 

She’s on the worksite for the annual Women Build in Muncie. Women in all professions, from attorneys to teachers, work every weekend through the months of September and October to raise money, and build a house for a family. For Brandie it was a chance to help Charles, a veteran whose family home once stood on the Willard Street lot where the build is underway. 

Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity helps restore and rebuild homes from the ground up or helps repair current homes for families in need.  

“Everybody deserves a second chance, just because I come from somewhere where you don’t doesn’t mean either of us doesn’t deserve a second chance.” said Brandie, a Habitat homeowner. 

Brandie is a familiar face and volunteers on numerous housing projects for Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity.  

Being a single mom, Brandie never thought she’d be financially stable enough to own her own house. Brandie applied for a Habitat house twice and at first was denied. She says, looking back, she probably wasn’t ready for the responsibility then anyway. After a little more time, Brandie submitted her second application to Habitat and applied for a loan, enough for a down payment. Brandie eventually got two calls, one from Habitat accepting her application, and the bank accepting her application for a loan. Brandie said she was faced with a decision. 

 “When thinking about my decision of choosing the loan or Habitat, I just felt a peace wash over me when I thought about Habitat. It felt like I could breathe,” said Brandie. 

 After months of education courses, and hour of sweat equity, Brandie walked into a house she owned, alongside her three children. She’s paid it forward ever since and it’s been noticed.  

 “They usually stop volunteering after a month, but Brandie kept coming,” said Jay Earehart, a Habitat construction supervisor. “She was the first volunteer I know who went out and bought her own work boots, Carhartt jacket, and hat to keep her warm in the winter.”  

 “I still have a mortgage, but instead it fits my salary,” Brandie said. “I had to take classes about how to take proper care of my home, and I gained confidence in myself. Volunteering has helped me do so much, more than likely if my kids break something I can fix it now.”

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