|Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003|
By Shawn Reeves
A year and a half after her apartment burned down on Thanksgiving morning, homeowner Patricia Peak is building a much safer and more secure house-but that's not all.
The fire forced a separation between Particia and her three sons, DeAngelo, 19; Joseph, 16; and Gerod, 14, and they've been living apart virtually the entire time.
"We were lucky enough to be able to stay with family," Patricia says, "but no one had enough room for all four of us."
Her new Habitat house will allow the Peak family to reunite, and just the mention of that reunion draws a smile on Patricia's face as wide as the rain clouds above.
She and her children began fulfilling their sweat-equity requirements almost immediately, working construction on other houses, serving at the affiliate warehouse and logging hours at Goodwill and the local Boys' Club.
"Everyone has really done their part," she says.
While Patricia can hardly wait for her family to be together again, she says she has quickly formed another "family" with the volunteers working on her house.
"I don't feel like these volunteers are even strangers," she says. "It's just one happy family, and they've shown so much love to take time out of their schedules to help me."