This winter was a tough one for Carey Glass. She faced a hard choice when school was out– go to work and worry about the danger of the space heater running full blast to warm the one room where she and her three children could stay barely warm, or stay home with them, but not get paid.
For the last twelve years Carey and her children James, Kandida, and Sebastian have lived in turmoil, never being totally sure from one day to the next if they would have a place to call home. It was during this tumultuous time in Carey’s life that her husband, while under the influence of alcohol, would verbally and physically abuse Carey and her children, oftentimes kicking them out of ‘his house.’ “I knew I had to take the next step and move out for good. I wanted my children to have a sense of security. I wanted to provide a good home for them.”
The family found a place to stay, but makeshift heat and air conditioning have made winters very cold and summers very hot. Moreover, Carey’s neighbors do not appreciate her musically talented and expressive children. Their creativity is regularly stifled by the neighbors’ banging on the walls of their duplex.
But winter has passed! On March 21, 2010, Carey and her children, along with the McCallie School, GPS and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga celebrated completion of the Glass family’s new home in St. Elmo. (A neighborhood in Chattanooga, TN at the foot of Lookout Mountain).
Spring couldn’t be a better time for this home to be dedicated,” says Pete Palmer, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. “After 12 years of challenges, Carey and her children will have a home of their own where they can live and grow without fear. Their strength through adversity bodes well for the future. We are proud to have been a part of their journey to homeownership, and wish them all the best as they begin a new chapter in their life, thanks to the financial and volunteer support of McCallie and GPS.”
The Caldwell Family Foundation provided significant funding to make this house possible as did the national offices of State Farm, Inc. Metro Services, Inc, and Coca Cola also supported the build as well.
“Carey Glass and her family provided such an education for us in how to approach life. Their positive spirit, their courage, their obvious strong sense of familial love spoke volumes in how to be resilient in the face of challenging odds,” said Sumner McCallie, McCallie Campus Chapter advisor and president of Habitat’s board. “It is funny. We volunteers go into the program thinking we are making a real difference for someone else and we end up getting back far more than we give. “
The Habitat staff could not have been more patient, supportive, and engaging for our guys and girls. Not only did they teach how to erect a stable wall or how to install plank siding, but they showed how to live lives of service and to do so with every ounce of one’s heart and soul. That is invaluable teaching,” McCallie said.
We are extremely proud of the home we have built for this family,” says Dennis Neal, LEED AP, Director of Construction for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. “This home is the first Habitat home to be located in the St. Elmo Historic District. “We appreciate Jenny Shugart and all others who worked with us in regard to helping this home fit the design standards for the neighborhood,” says Neal. “Besides fitting well with the neighborhood, this home will keep the family comfortable, and help them enjoy lower energy bills.”
Her Habitat house means much so more to Carey than just a place to call home. “No one will be kicking us out ever again,” she says. “With a Habitat home my kids will be able to enjoy the carefree life of just being kids!” They will also be able to pursue their musical talents and studies free from the stress and worries they once knew.
“Over the years Carey helped care for my children through her work in day care,” says John Lamb, Director of Development with Habitat. “I had no idea of her challenges. It has been a blessing to see students and staff from McCallie and GPS, community volunteers, and Habitat staff rally around a person whose compassion and care touched my children and family daily for several years. Her story is great example of what can happen when we come together as partners to make a difference in the life of a family, and in our community!”