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Little things mean a lot to Monroe homeowner

Tristen is a 4-year-old with way too much energy to be cooped up. Unfortunately, living in a cramped three-room addition above his grandfather's general store doesn't provide the room he needs.

Tira Raymond and her son Tristen, 4, pose in their current home's living room. The Raymond family share three small rooms above a general store and do not have their own kitchen or bathroom.

Living literally in the attic doesn't provide a good environment for his parents, Tira and Matt Raymond, either. The Raymonds don't have their own kitchen or bathroom; they share those facilities with Matt's parents in their home connected to the store on the lower level. "Seven adults share one bathroom," Tira says. "You can imagine how hard it is even to take a shower in the morning."

The prospect of just a little privacy and the simplicity of making a cup of coffee in her own kitchen are what excite Tira most. It's her eagerness for these things that have had Tira driving by the site of her new Habitat house—which is 20 miles from her current home—on a daily basis for months.

Tira gets tears in her eyes talking about the new house. "This will be a big jump for us," she explains. "We were getting down, thinking we'd never get out on our own. But with just a little support, a little confidence…. I don't want anybody to think they can't do it."

She continues, "I just have so much gratitude. I can never repay Habitat or the volunteers for this opportunity. No matter how many sweat-equity hours I work, no matter how quickly I pay off my mortgage—I can never repay this opportunity."

Tristen wants to help his parents repay it. In his Easter basket, he received $5. He gave it to Tira: "This is for the house, Mom," he said.

"He cried when I wouldn't take it from him—he wanted to buy our new house," she says. "But I told him no. This is something we're doing for him."

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