This story was co-written by Madiken Helsel. Madiken is a Greenville resident who enjoys business consulting for early-stage companies. When not working or volunteering with local non-profits, she likes to travel, hike, and run with her husband. Madiken volunteers with Rebuild Upstate to help share the stories of our homeowners.
Mrs. S welcomed us into her home to share her story on how Rebuild Upstate has impacted her and her family’s lives. Her story begins with being an assistant manager at Dollar General and having Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This means that she has a lot of mucus in her lungs and gets easily out of breath.
Unfortunately, when she and her family moved into her current home 12 years ago the roof was beginning to show signs of wear. As the years passed the roof started leaking more and more, to the point that she needed to have a bucket in the bathroom to collect water seeping through. All that moisture that was getting in Mrs. S’ house meant that mold was growing, which made her COPD symptoms even worse — she could barely walk to the front door to answer it. Because her breathing was getting so bad she constantly prayed that God would provide her a solution. Soon after, she saw a neighbor a few houses down getting her roof repaired. There was a sign out front saying it was the work of Rebuild Upstate. After speaking with the volunteers, she decided to complete an application for home repair with Rebuild Upstate.
After almost two years on the waiting list, Mrs. S finally got the news she would get a new roof. Mrs. S has such positive memories of working with Rebuild Upstate. She remembers being able to choose the color of her roof, which she wasn’t expecting. Nick, Rebuild Upstate’s operations director, came to do her home assessment and they bonded over something they both loved – food! When volunteers finally came to repair her roof, she made fish, potato salad, baked beans and more for all the volunteers when they arrived for their workday. She was committed to doing anything she could to show volunteers how much she appreciated them!
During this time, Mrs. S had 7 grandchildren living with her in her home. Now, that number is down to 3, but no matter how many people are living there, there is one thing that they love doing, and that is cooking together. Mrs. S’ grandchildren, without a doubt, love her breakfast bars. They are a little bit more like dessert with the m&m’s and skittles she puts in them! The family continues to spend time together at family cookouts and holiday meals. There is so much love in their house and a roof over their heads makes family time together so much less stressful.
Prior to working with Rebuild Upstate, Mrs. S stopped smoking cold turkey. She remembers a cautionary tale from her mom, getting hot wings the same day, and smoking half a cigarette. It’s going on 7 years now that she has refrained from touching a cigarette. She’s been told lungs can heal themselves over a 10 year period, so she is looking forward to the next 3 years and beyond. Now, no one is allowed to smoke in the house — she doesn’t want to ruin the progress her health has made. Since Mrs. S. decided to quit smoking and received critical repairs from Rebuild Upstate, she hasn’t been to the ER in 4 years! Instead of making her sick because of mold, her home now compliments her health choices and keeps everyone warm and dry.
Mrs. S is grateful for the repairs Rebuild Upstate volunteers made on her home. “Thank you Rebuild Upstate. I am forever grateful. Your volunteers define what real heroes are by giving so much of their time to a complete stranger.”