Single mom building memories with help from Habitat for Humanity

Posted Monday, Feb. 17, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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To volunteer, contact Kapreta Johnson, sponsor relations manager for Trinity Habitat for Humanity, at (817) 926-9219. To donate for the next Mansfield Habitat for Humanity house, call Don Miller at (817) 999-9414 or go to www.firstmansfield.com.

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Taca Thornton wants to paint her walls. She wants to go into her garage and start her car without having to wait for it to warm up. She wants her son to have his own room, instead of sleeping on the couch. And she wants to go to sleep without hearing her neighbors through the walls.

She’s about to get her wish -- her own home -- thanks to her hard work and Habitat for Humanity.

“It gives me a sense of control and allows me to be something by myself,” said Thornton, 36, a teller for the Tarrant County Credit Union. “It changes your mentality when you own a home. You want to work harder, do more, be more.”

But first, she had to find Mansfield and figure out her way around.

“I knew where it was, but I didn’t know anything about it,” said Thornton, who grew up in Fort Worth and now lives in an apartment in North Richland Hills with her two children, Rodvick, 14, and Teionnah, 8. “I knew the Mansfield school district was wonderful. That was the No. 1 reason I wanted to move here. I could have gone to Fort Worth, but I wanted a brand new city. This will be my own.”

Thornton has already completed the 250 service hours required by Habitat and is now helping construct her own home, Mansfield’s 10th Habitat house, at 528 Patterson Drive. Local civic groups, churches and individuals donated $81,000 to pay for the home’s construction, which Thornton will repay to Trinity Habitat for Humanity with a no-interest loan. Habitat will use her payments to buy other lots and build other homes.

This weekend, she and crews of volunteers began putting up the walls to the new three-bedroom, two-bath brick house.

“I’m going to know where all the studs are, the plumbing,” Thornton said.

The house won’t be the first that she has owned -- she and her husband sold theirs after the divorce -- so she knows the value of home ownership. Her mother, though, showed her the value of a Habitat for Humanity home when she purchased hers three years ago.

“That was her first house ever,” Thornton said. “She cherishes it. My mom was in her 50s when she got her first house. She said if it wasn’t for Habitat, she would never have had a house.”

That’s why he keeps volunteering, said Don Miller, executive pastor at First Baptist and head of the Mansfield organizers.

“Every time I think it’s the last year, I see a family that has gotten a house and I know that it’s a permanent solution for one of their needs,” Miller said. “I can’t quit.”

Thornton’s house will be the first Habitat house built on Patterson Drive, all of the others have been constructed on roads off of West Broad Street. But Patterson Drive was one of the first places that Miller, along with assistant city manager Chris Burkett and city planner Felix Wong, looked for possible Habitat sites.

“Now, we’re looking for additional neighborhoods to help raise the level of interest,” Miller said. “It helps the community see we’re not just helping one neighborhood.”

Volunteers will work six more weekends on Thornton’s house, then professionals will put on the finishing touches. The new homeowner hopes to move into her house before school starts in August.

“I want to eventually build a porch,” Thornton said. “I’m a big family person, but you can’t have family over in an apartment. I want them to come over and barbecue and have the kids running around. I’m looking forward to decorating, the family getting together and building memories.

“That’s what you do when you have a house,” she said. “Build memories.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

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