Habitat for Humanity
of the Eastern Panhandle
630 W. Race St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Monday -Friday: 9am-2pm
At Habitat, we don’t just build houses, we build families!
Amy Adams** -- Today the Adams household is filled with running, jumping, laughter and hugs. That wasn’t always the case. Back in 2004, single-mom Amy and her son, Nathaniel, lived in a cramped apartment on the north side of Martinsburg. It was just a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath for the two of them. She had a job working at Wal-Mart and Nate was failing in school. They were getting by, but she thought there had to be something better.
Amy applied for a Habitat house. Not a hammer swinging person, she opted to satisfy her sweat equity requirement by working in the Habitat office and ReStore. Habitat’s budget and home maintenance training were helpful to her.
They, with their toy poodle, moved into their new house and subsequently Amy married her husband Rick and they had a daughter, Maria. Later, they added a black Labrador retriever to the family. A peek in Nate’s room will tell you instantly he’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. And while he’s waiting for little league baseball season to start, he’ll be playing Wii Sports and Playstation games. It’s a sure bet that Maria likes pink since her bedroom is a mass of that color.
Although Amy’s family lives in southern West Virginia, she and Rick have a comfortable living room to entertain friends. In the living room, family photos are on display. An aquarium houses an Oscar fish as the main attraction.
Amy’s house also had a part in her transformation from store employee to business owner. It provided her adequate space to be able to start her own child care business. As part of the process, she had the house inspected before licensing. She takes care of four children ranging in age from one to four. As an added bonus, Maria gets some daily playmates.
The Adams family is in a house – a home – and no longer living in a cramped apartment, but the changes they are experiencing are far greater than just their housing.
Marsha Johnston** -- According to The Hollies’s 1969 song, the road is long with many a winding turn. To where it will lead is the question. For Marsha, whose story certainly is incomplete, the road to this point has led to a Habitat house. As incomplete as it may be, she has come a long way.
An unstable family situation had her on her own at an early age. A couple of automobile accidents and the beginnings of a debilitating illness were followed by the loss of her job, mounting medical bills and homelessness. Life's lessons can be very hard; she understands trying to decide to pay the grocer or the doctor.
In her efforts to better her housing situation, she researched multiple sources, including Habitat. Her Habitat house is now home for her and her two cats – one that loves lap-sitting and another that is very shy. Taking nothing for granted, she remains thankful. Friends helped her make a shelf system around walls for the cats to walk. Still unable to hold a “nine-to-five” job somewhere, the house also is the place from which she can do freelance work to supplement her disability support income.
When she moved to Martinsburg, Marsha didn’t know anyone here. Since moving into her Habitat house, she has grown a family from a diverse group of friends and neighbors and has a wide range of interests. She loves talking about the friends she’s made since moving here and the mutual support they provide one another. After listening to her story, you’ll be convinced that The Hollies were right -- “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
** The names of this partner family have been changed to respect their privacy; however, all other details are true.