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Family copes after tornado damages Habitat home (part 2) -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Family copes after tornado damages Habitat home (part 2)

 

Antonio and Irma’s son, Marco, an engineer, stands in his parents’ tornado-damaged home — a home he credits for much of his success. Photos for Habitat for Humanity International by Ezra Millstein.

   
 


A photo of the Mojica family taken shortly after they moved into their Habitat home in 2003 still hangs on the wall. Photos for Habitat for Humanity International by Ezra Millstein.

   
 

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‘After we got the house from Habitat, things changed’


For Marco, it all turned around when they moved into the house in 2003.

“Before, it wasn’t great,” he said. “It was a tough time. I was in middle school and didn’t speak English well, yet, and we lived in a home that was too small.

“After we got the house from Habitat, things changed. High school was great, so much better than middle school. I was vice president of the Hispanic Club, received some distinctions and got a scholarship from Habitat, too.”

After he graduated from college and took a job, he moved about an hour away to Gainesville, Texas, which is where he was when his parents called to tell him about the tornado.

They said they were having dinner when the storm approached. Irma got up to close the windows. She saw dirt and wood blowing around and sensed what was about to happen. They left food on the table and the stove, and huddled in the bathroom.

Marco couldn’t believe the news.

“I was in shock, speechless. I didn’t know what to think. They were scared, of course, so I got scared. I drove down as quickly as I could.

“I was happy that they were OK; that’s all the mattered at that time.”

Days after the storm, no one in the family wanted to talk definitively about the future. It was too soon for that. But they all maintained hope. They’ve seen what a hand up can do for a family.