“Can you believe I get my keys in less than two weeks?” Kimmie squealed to me as we hugged tightly. Kimmie Neff and I were meeting for coffee and everyone in the shop looked to see what she was gushing about. Her joy and gratitude over her impending homeownership was contagious!

Kimmie’s road to homeownership has been long, rocky and full of uncertainty. It has involved the very real struggles of being a single mom and a battle with thyroid cancer. She used to lay in bed and wonder ‘is this as good as it gets?’ Knowing the importance of what a safe, stable home meant for her young son’s success in life, she was scared that she may never be able to provide that. Rising housing costs made owning a home seem impossible. She tells me, “First Story showed up just in time!”

First Story has not only bettered life for the Neff Family it has rewritten what Kimmie thought her story would be. “You all have changed my life – forever,” she told me. Kimmie and her son check on the progress of the house nearly every day. Whether it be the first wall going up or a new light switch plate installed, she takes none of it for granted. Each step of the home building process brings renewed appreciation for the gift she has been given.

Around here we often use the words ‘deserving family’ when describing a First Story house recipient. Those words ought to be reflected on deeply because for every hour spent building a First Story home, for every day spent volunteering at one of our events and for every dollar donated to our cause, there is a very real family, like Kimmie’s, that will be forever changed. Life is hard and we don’t all get the same opportunities due to circumstances out of our control. But, because of giving minded individuals First Story can continue to change lives like Kimmie and her son.

Next week, we will watch the Neff family get the keys to their new home. It will be a proud moment for the entire First Story Family that will play out four more times before the year is over. These moments and these families truly make us all #HomeProud!