A New Home In Time For Thanksgiving
Local Couple Pays It Forward
DuPage Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Dave Neary sits down with a couple who have recently decided to donate their home for a reduced cost to DuPage Habitat.
In 1977, Roger and Sherrie bought their home in Wheaton, IL. They were young and somewhat recently married, with no kids in tow, moving in to their very first home. Other than one or two older couples, most of the residents in the neighborhood shared the same circumstances as Roger and Sherrie. Over the years, these younger couples grew older themselves, and began to move away. Sherrie noticed the houses filling up with young folks again. Sherrie says she believes this is what a neighborhood should do. But in recent days, after 41 years in the neighborhood, she and Roger have found some interruptions in this natural trend. It seems that young folks starting families can’t afford to live in Wheaton like they used to. They wanted to help this problem, but didn’t know how. Then they heard about DuPage Habitat for Humanity, and Sherrie says, “It was just right. The universe aligned.” The couple was already looking to move their lives out of state to be closer to Sherrie’s continuing education courses, and Roger was already retired.
Roger and Sherrie attended a free informational event at Arrowhead Golf Club hosted by DuPage Foundation’s Next Generation Initiative, where they learned that DuPage Habitat does much more than build homes – We also renovate and remodel existing homes. This planted the seed that they might not have to go through a typical sale of their home. In fact, they’ve decided to sell their home to DuPage Habitat at a reduced cost as a donation. “It’s a very humbling place to be in life that you can give a house,” says Sherrie. “Our big question in life is ‘How much is enough?’” She tells us that this is a quote from Philip Roth, who also said, “It’s best to give while your hand is warm.” This is exactly what Sherrie and Roger intend to do at this stage in their lives. They plan on leaving most of their furniture behind, which DuPage Habitat will haul to the ReStore in Addison as another donation. The house will be done sometime in November. Roger and Sherrie hope that a family will be able to move in by Thanksgiving. “Just think,” Roger says. “Another family will have an opportunity, a chance.”
When asked about the decision to donate to DuPage Habitat, Roger says, “I know right away that some family is going to have a chance, and that makes us very happy.” Executive Director Dave Neary explains that the couple will receive a tax credit from the donation; however, this donation can be endorsed back to DuPage Habitat as another small gesture that can add up to a lot. “We have homeowner stories and those are great, because you’ve got a first-person testimonial of the life-changing experience,” Dave explains. “But to a larger extent, it’s life-changing for many of our donors – and to open that opportunity up to others, so they can understand that this possibility might exist for them, is a huge blessing. It’s just another way of paying it forward.”
Roger reflects on his and Sherrie’s past. “It’s been an interesting trip through life,” he laughs. “I don’t think either of us in our wildest dreams ever thought that at some point in our life we would say, ‘Yeah, let’s give our house to someone!’ We’ve been fortunate, but we realize a lot of people aren’t.” Sherrie agrees, talking about how good it feels to make a difference in your own local community.