Meet the 50th President - A Durham Habitat Success Story



By Blake Strayhorn

My twelve-year-old friend David’s mother, Hannah, is buying a home from Durham Habitat. David is smart, a good conversationalist; he’s got a strong grip and he looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand.  There are many stars in the group of Habitat homebuyer youth, but David stands out. 

David recently declared his intent to be our nation’s 50th President.  On live TV.  In his words:  “Barack Obama, remember me.  I will be the 50th President of the United States.  I’ve done the math.” 

“What math,” I asked?  “I need to be 35 to be elected President,” he replied.  Of course.

David declared his candidacy on June 10th – mark the date – as we were interviewed for a live 6am news segment on local TV to celebrate the completion of the 2016 Habitat Homebuilders Blitz.  It was Day 7 of our homebuilding marathon during which Habitat partners built two homes in just one week. 

Building two homes in a week makes for long days for our builders, Allison King of Garman Homes and Eric Hedden of Durham Building Company, and hundreds of partners.  I’m often overwhelmed by the selflessness of folks like Allison and Eric, and their teams, and so many in the Durham Habitat community of givers.  I sometimes wonder why people give so much.

I think I know the answer.  People give their time, talent and treasure because of kids like David - and hundreds of other children whose futures are brighter because their parents work so hard to buy their Habitat homes. 

But we also give for ourselves.  Because giving and building is a tangible act of love for our fellow human.  More than thoughts and prayers, action is love.  And we need to love as we respond to events like Orlando.

One of my heroes, Habitat co-founder Worth Lutz, is a man of few words.  He lives out the adage “Preach the Gospel at all times.  Use words when necessary.”  Faith in action.

Durham Habitat builds incredibly diverse partnerships of folks who put their faith into action.

People coming together to attack a common problem.  People who dream about a Durham where all neighbors have a safe, dry, affordable place to sleep at night.  People working to make this dream a reality.

Those who share a heart for tackling Durham’s housing problem become partners. All walks of life come together through Habitat, and we get to know each other. 

Habitat job sites affirm my conviction that when we move beyond ideas and labels, beyond the rhetoric and stereotypes that so often divide our community, when we come together to act - to build and sell affordable homes in Durham in partnership with hard-working, low-income families - we unite in building community. 

 Around the hammer, we bond and realize people have much in common, and we’re more alike than we are different.  We realize we like each other, and that together we can achieve so much.

Durham Habitat finishes its fiscal year this week, June 30th.  This year, we served 78 families through our home-ownership and critical repairs programs.  That’s 78 families who are breaking the cycle of poverty for their children and future generations through their investment in owning their homes. 

When a diverse group with open minds and open hearts come together to act on a common problem, we build brighter futures for Habitat kids. We bring love to our lives. We may even be nurturing the 50th President of the United States. 

I invite you to join Durham Habitat’s community.  Visit to learn more and to get involved.



Angier Ave 7am Fri June 3rd

Angier Ave Post-Blitz

2016 Builders Blitz on Angier Ave BEFORE and AFTER


David, our 50th President, on the campaign trail.

Partners Eric and Allison

 Special thanks to Blitz builder partners, Eric and Allison

Angier Ave Homeowners

Habitat’s two Blitz Build home buyer families who will purchase their Habitat homes at 0% interest.  They’re already friends and will soon be neighbors!


Habitat Success Stories

Growing up in East Durham, Tora saw the neighborhood decline and bounce back. She was excited to partner with the Streets at Southpoint and Belk to build and purchase her own home in East Durham -- making her part of the neighborhood's revitalization.