When you meet Abraham Lincoln (one of our homeowners, not the former president) you instantly feel his joy and tenacity for life. He loves to joke. He has a love of movies and film, something he shared with his mother. Abraham helps everyone who he can. He even adopted the neighborhood cat after the death of a neighbor. His dream is to one day open a recreation center for local youth so they have a safe space to play.
His joyous attitude hasn’t come with trials. A few years ago, Abraham and his wife had to prop a chair against the door handle to keep their back door locked. The same door let water inside each time it rained. One day, Abraham’s wife fell through the back deck, which had rotted from water damage. She was hospitalized. Shortly after, their stairs collapsed under Abraham while he was taking out the trash. They had to use the back door to bring in their groceries because the stairs were the only way to access the door to the kitchen.
They worked hard for this home. They spent five years working to get a mortgage through a rent-to-own agreement with the previous homeowner. Abraham pointed out the couch we sat on was their first piece of furniture in the home. Abraham was thrifty and creative when it came to furnishing the home. He spent time browsing furniture stores to get ideas and then used Craigslist and negotiating to get better deals on similar items. The Lincolns take much pride in their home and keep their door open to everyone in need.
Abraham learned of Rebuild Upstate through volunteering at a worksite himself during Hands On Greenville Day. He gained first-hand experience the impact Rebuild Upstate has before he even requested assistance. He says Rebuild Upstate is important because “it helps people who can’t get repairs that are needed – not what is wanted. There is a difference. They do for families what others won’t do.”
Abraham spent two years on the Rebuild Upstate waiting list before volunteers came to replace the back decking, build new stairs and a landing to the kitchen, and repair floor in the kitchen. The repairs by Rebuild Upstate volunteers have changed his life profoundly. “I can get up in the morning and don’t even put shoes or socks on so I can feel the floor. I can bring groceries right into the kitchen instead of through the back door.”
If Abraham could tell Rebuild Upstate volunteers one thing, he would say, “One act of kindness is worth more than a million dollars. That changes someone’s life. It stays with them. I will always remember your acts of kindness.”
“Every penny helps. I am living proof. You don’t need more evidence than that.”
To donate to Rebuild Upstate and support home repair for people like Abraham, visit rebuildupstate.org/donate.