During the teeth of the pandemic in 2020, Mike and Tommi D. would grab their children, Hunter and Riley, pack a picnic, and sit at the lunch table located at Habitat’s Park Place construction site for the Nevada County Humanity. They would sit for a few hours, gazing at the gravel-filled trenches on the land that would one day be the site of their home. And they would dream.
Tommi would visualize the safety and security her children would feel, where she wouldn’t have to worry about them when they went out to play. Mike dreamed of being able to contemplate his house, knowing that his sweat and blood were mixed with the foundation of the house he would help build with his own hands for his family. Meanwhile, Hunter and Riley were both wondering what it would be like to have their own bedroom. In fact, Hunter would create 3D models from Play-Doh of what his bedroom would look like.
That day came on Friday, December 17, as Mike and Tommi’s freshly completed home was consecrated, the 43rd built by Nevada County Habitat.
“We’re excited and a little scared,” Tommi says. “It’s been a long journey, but one that I will never take again. It is the most beautiful and incredible thing that has ever happened to our family. Our dreams come true.
Mike and Tommi diligently fulfilled their 500-hour sweat fairness pledge with an enthusiastic desire to help advance Habitat’s mission. Mike spent almost every Saturday working alongside the dedicated team of Habitat volunteers who built their home, while Tommi often helped out with ReStore or with mailings to the Habitat affiliate office.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, home schooling, and all the adversity our community has faced over the past 18 months, Mike and Tommi have faced an unusual set of circumstances in during their journey.
“With COVID and everything in between, we had to learn patience and confidence,” Mike says. “We had complete trust in everyone at Nevada County Habitat – we knew they always had our best interests in mind. “
From the moment they were selected, the couple maintained their optimism and gratitude throughout their Habitat journey. “I think Mike and Tommi demonstrated the spirit of Habitat every step of the way,” says Lorraine Larson, executive director of Habitat for Nevada County. “Our construction volunteers have highly appreciated Mike’s commitment, and I know he will likely volunteer to help complete the two remaining homes at Park Place.
“Habitat’s mission is made possible by the dedication and generosity of so many people and organizations,” said Larson. “They make our community as a whole a better place to live and have certainly provided families like Mike and Tommi’s with long-term stability and security.”
Nevada County Habitat can guarantee that homeowners are purchasing their home with an interest-free mortgage payment that does not exceed 30% of a family’s monthly income. “This is only made possible through the generosity of local donors in our community,” said Larson. “And almost 100% of the work of building a house is done by volunteers.” She went on to say that in addition to local individual donors, Habitat also received grants from Wells Fargo and the United Auburn Indian Community, as well as donations from local businesses; and in-kind donations from Byers and MEC Builds that literally put a roof and gutters on Mike and Tommi’s house. Additional special donations came from Grass Valley’s Grocery Outlet and B&C Ace Hardware.
“A Habitat construction is definitely a community experience! ” she said.
“We are very grateful to everyone who made this dream possible for us. Being able to be practical, to work alongside all of the amazing volunteers, has been an amazing experience, ”said Mike. “To be able to stand in this house and just say, ‘This is mine. I helped build this with my own hands, ”is an indescribable feeling. I mean, I literally invested my blood in building my family’s house! “
For more information on Nevada County Habitat, visit http://www.NCHabitat.org.
Source: Nevada County Habitat