A Sustaining Love

Posted

Looking for a way to show your love for someone special in your life? Honor them by making a one-time contribution or sign up as a sustainer and celebrate love all-year long.


"Many people have said that getting involved with Habitat will change your life. Truer words have never been spoken. Everyone should know this joy!"
-Margaret Rubiera


Margaret & Miguel Rubiera

Tell us about how you met and fell in love:

We met while I was studying abroad in Spain during my junior year of college. I had gone to a get-together for Spanish and International students just a few days after arriving. Miguel was playing the guitar and leading everyone in singing some beautiful Spanish folk songs. We quickly spotted one another, he asked me out the following evening, and 47 years later, we are still together!

How did you end up in Durham?

After many years in the corporate world, we made the decision to follow our hearts and commit our remaining working years doing what gave our lives the deepest fulfillment -- serving others. We had been enthusiastic volunteers with Habitat in Greensboro and in Honduras, and loved the organization. Miguel applied for the position of executive director of Habitat Durham, was hired, and we began what was the richest and most meaningful part of our lives. Miguel officially retired from Habitat almost 6 years ago, but we remain faithful volunteers.

What do you love about Durham?

We love the diversity, the vibrant sense of community and possibility here. We have seen so many positive changes in Durham over the last 11 years, but are realistic about the many challenges that still face us as we strive to improve the lives of the wonderful, hard working families in need of more stable, decent living conditions.

What do you love about Durham Habitat?

The people! We love working with the incredible volunteers who give of their time and energy to help others. The homeowners always inspire us with their courage and determination to provide a better future for their families. Seeing their joy when their houses are dedicated keeps us coming back week after week.

Tell us about a favorite Habitat moment:

At a recent home dedication for a Burmese family, I looked around the packed room and saw several other Habitat families who had come to welcome their new neighbor. There were Muslims, Christians, refugee families, Hispanic families, African American families, all gathered together to celebrate this new beginning. All the children were happily getting to know one another. Right after the dedication, a couple of the parents organized some games outside for the children. Community at its best. What an honor it was to be present, to have played a small part in helping this moment become reality.


"I like that there's a place for anyone to contribute. Durham Habitat is welcoming to everyone who wants to make Durham a better place.-Tracy Cox

 

Tracy Cox & Vickie Modlin 

Tell us about how you met and fell in love:

We were introduced by a mutual friend. The rest is history!

How did you end up in Durham?

Vickie: I came to Durham in 1986 to teach elementary school Physical Education. Tracy: I came to Durham in 1993.  

What do you love about Durham?

 Vickie: the diversity and the food! Tracy: I love that Durham has grit, an amazing history and so far hasn't lost it's friendliest. 

How did you become connected with Durham Habitat?

Tracy: I've been involved as a volunteer in a number of capacities: ReStore committees, board member and my most favorite is on the builds especially with the women roofers. Vickie: I love to shop at the Restore! I find nice things at reasonable prices. Ask me about the great treasures I've found! 

What do you love about Durham Habitat?

Tracy: I like that there's a place for anyone to contribute. Durham Habitat is welcoming to everyone who wants to make Durham a better place. Vickie: they build beautiful homes.

Tell us about a favorite Habitat moment:

We had a BLAST at the Bull City Race Fest VIP area!! It was so fun to meet people, enjoy good food and have a couple beers. 

"We both love the mission of Habitat. The fact that people all across the area come together to help a family realize homeownership. The sweat and dirt and sawdust show a real labor of love" -Kiera Torres

Kiera & Louis Torres

Tell us about how you met and fell in love:

We met at a church flag football game in Durham. Kiera's friend and her husband connected the two of us together. We really built a friendship first but I quickly advanced into love. We both love the Lord, we love sports, traveling, family and as opposites in personality it was easy to see our one's weakness was the other's strength. We have a great balance. We also really like serving/volunteering together. we have done many Habitat projects together.

How did you end up in Durham?

I (Kiera) have lived in the Raleigh/Durham area my whole life - I grew up in Raleigh and attended UNC Chapel Hill. Lou is from New York City but moved down south about 18 years ago to attend college at Shaw University. Right after we got married we were looking to buy a larger home. Having lived in Durham during college, working in Durham and volunteering with Durham Habitat I advocated for Durham during the home buying search. We both fell in love with our neighborhood and have loved living in Durham ever since.

What do you love about Durham?

We both LOVE the community atmosphere of Durham. People in Durham engage with each other; they don't just walk past each other. They are invested in city. We love the diversity of Durham, the many things to do - parks, the farmers market, DPAC and DBAP, and of course, the restaurants.

How did you become connected with Durham Habitat?

I (Kiera) became connected with Durham Habitat through a former organization called Triangle Impact (which is now part of Activate Good). In college I had volunteered with Orange County Habitat (through UNC) throughout my 4 years of school and even did a Spring Break build in New Orleans. So in 2007 after graduating I was looking for a way to get involved in the community. I found out about Triangle Impact and decided to become one of their project leaders. The current project leader had to go on leave and I took over as the project leader for Durham Habitat and I have been volunteering ever since. I (Lou) became connected with Durham Habitat shortly after starting to date Kiera. One day she asked me if I wanted to go volunteer with her and I thought it would be fun. Little did I know that on the day of the project it would be freezing, but I had a great time volunteering. I was able to meet the homeowner and that really solidified for me why Habitat was so special to Kiera. And it has become special to me.

What do you love about Durham Habitat?

I think we both love the mission of Habitat. The fact that people all across the area come together to help a family realize homeownership. The sweat and dirt and sawdust show a real labor of love. We also love the Habitat staff - Roxanne, Anna, Jesus, Dan, Denisha, Blake, Lakeisha, Lesley - they have a passion for their work and they are grateful for the volunteers that come week after week to make homeownership a reality for so many families in Durham.

Tell us about a favorite Habitat moment:

Kiera - For me my favorite moments are the home dedications. In addition to volunteering for Habitat on the construction site, I also volunteer on the family selection committee. I interview potential homeowner in an effort to help them become Habitat homeowners. Last year Lou and I happened to be volunteering at a construction site in the morning and there was a home dedication taking place right down the street, so we decided to go. Little did I know that the home was being dedicated to one of the first potential homeowners that I had ever interviewed. Knowing the homeowner's story of hardships and challenges and now seeing the joy and excitement of now being a first-time homeowner was overwhelming. It brought the Habitat volunteer experience full circle for me. Each volunteer and each hour they spend to volunteer or each dollar they donate to Habitat changes lives and the trajectory of families for generations. It really makes a difference. Lou - one of my favorite moments was the first time I did Habitat. It was cold that day and early. From the moment I stepped foot on the site, the staff was so friendly and the volunteers were energized. We were painting and caulking that day. Not only did I learn new skills, but I got to volunteer with the woman I love and I got to meet the homeowner that would live in the house. To see that the walls that I was painting would be the walls that the homeowner would be living in made a big impact for me.

"I've worked with several Habitats. Habitat helped me find purpose in my twenties. We love their drive to help elevate all." -Mike Noel

Mike Noel & Stephanie Hall

Tell us about how you met and fell in love:

We were introduced by Stephanie's sister after meeting about Habitat. 

How did you end up in Durham?

We grew up in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. 

What do you love about Durham?

The diversity, food and fun. 

What do you love about Durham Habitat?

The people who work there! Their drive to help elevate all and keep gentrification at bay. 

Tell us about a favorite Habitat moment:

Watching my mother develop her carpentry skills as a Habitat Geezer volunteer. 

Laura & Miles Crosskey

Our Habi-Love Story: Both Miles and I came to Durham for graduate school at Duke University and met each other here in Durham.  When Miles and I started dating in January 2011, I had been volunteering at weekend Habitat builds since moving here in 2007 because I cared about being part of the Durham community, not just the Duke community.  Miles had never been to a habitat site and didn't really have a history of volunteering.  From the beginning of our relationship we talked about only wanting to be together if there was a possible future together and talked about what was important to us. Part of what I wanted for my future was volunteering together with my husband in the local community, so Miles knew he'd better try it out!  Part of what he wanted was protected time together for relaxing, marveling, and enjoying life.  At first he enjoyed coming (because he liked learning how to use the power tools?!) but did worry that it cut into his time to relax and have fun.  Then, he enjoyed coming because of the awesome community of people we met at Habitat - a group of people who with great joy and enthusiasm give of their time and energy because they believe it matters and makes a difference - a group of people who care.  Now, we come because we are married and together we care about Durham (being homeowners ourselves now in the community), we have a great time while building, we love meeting the homeowner families, and we love the community we've built with the Habitat staff and volunteers! Over the years we've treasured the support Habitat people have shown for our relationship - asking when we were going to get engaged, coming to our wedding, celebrating the upcoming (any day now!) birth of our daughter, and supporting us as a couple.  Our story is one of not only us loving each other but coming to have a shared love for the people and mission of Habitat.  Miles, through Habitat, learned more about me as a person and about how volunteering is part of my life of faith - that we worship God and show our love for God through acting on our love for neighbor while marveling at God's activity and presence in the world and in the people we meet. We continue to learn a deeper love for one another, Durham, neighbor, and... Habitat for Humanity! May it always be so! P.S. we still find time for and protect relaxation and fun, too - on and off Habitat worksites!

 

Habitat Success Stories

Barbara is an elderly neighbor who suffers from COPD. Durham Habitat partnered with the Fuqua School of Business to replace Barbara’s roof and HVAC system. Barbara said,"I thank God that Habitat was able to fix my home because I was unable to do it for myself."

Barbara