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Taking the long way home (Part 2) -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Taking the long way home (Part 2)

‘Not ready to settle down just yet’

The first year on the road, they built in Michigan, New York, North Dakota, New Mexico and Georgia. The second year, they added seven more states to their travel log. France kept track of their moves on a map she hung on the RV door, marking the spots with rhinestones. Their locations and house count grew as they began specializing in disaster-response work, organizing major rebuilding projects after hurricanes and tornados.

“The houses seem to blend together,” France said. “It’s the people who make it fun.”

So much fun that the five years the Moriartys planned to spend on the road has stretched to more than 10.

Bill and France have been together for 27 years. After so many years of sharing a couple of hundred square feet of space, the two often finish each other’s sentences. They bicker playfully, but they are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, fiercely proud of their partner’s accomplishments.

The Moriartys don’t see themselves giving up their wheels for at least 10 more years.

“I’m not ready to settle down just yet,” said France, who recently turned 50. “We’re going to quit the Care-A-Vanner program when most people start.”

Why do they keep building?

Bill explains by telling a story about a recent house dedication in Atlanta, where the speakers included a woman who had moved into her Habitat home in 1996.

“This lady talked about how her life has changed since she’s been in her Habitat house, how she’s continued and furthered her education, how she’s been involved in numerous civic organizations, how she’s been working to transform her neighborhood.

“And I thought, ‘That’s why we do this.’ We do it because we’re part of changing people’s lives.”

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