The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | December 2008
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Volunteer Stan Powell uses his engineering skills to build Habitat houses.

Ready, Willing and Able
Habitat homeowners and volunteers find that it’s their abilities that matter most.

by Rebekah Daniel

Homeowner Kylie Norton arrives at her house dedication.
New Habitat homeowner Kylie Norton loves her house. She revels in the type of small-but-important details in her Weatherford, Texas, home that would delight any homeowner in the United States: large widows in the living room and dining room, a roomy kitchen, a leafy and quiet street for walking her dog, Maggie.

Of course, there are other reasons to love her house, too. Lever-style doorknobs. No-step entries. A roll-in shower.

“I was in a single-engine airplane crash in 1982,” Norton says. “The wing broke on the aircraft and caused the crash. I had recently gotten my pilot’s license and was flying with my fiance, a fellow pilot who was killed in the crash.

“Prior to the crash, I was working as a legal secretary and was a professional musician with the Fort Worth Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. I had just been invited to study with the principal (French horn) of the Chicago Symphony. After the crash, I was in the hospital for nine months in recovery. I was left quadriplegic and mobile only through the use of a wheelchair.”

Building a house with Trinity Habitat for Humanity marked the beginning of a new chapter in a life Norton hardly could have imagined before the crash. After her recovery, she earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation science and a master’s degree in mental health counseling, completing internships at Cook Children’s Hospital, Salvation Army Homeless Shelter and Women’s Haven battered women’s shelter. She is determined and resourceful. Even so, there have been struggles.

“I have always been limited to small, compact apartments which were uncomfortable and inaccessible,” Norton says. “I used to pull the handle off my range every time I turned around in the kitchen of the apartment.”

Continued







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