The following letter is reprinted with the permission of Habitat for Humanity Knox County.  The author, whose name we have omitted, sent this to the organization’s international headquarters to acknowledge INB Mortgage Lender Karen Cabrera’s role in homeownership.

  Habitat for Humanity Knox County, IL logo

What does my Habitat House mean to me?  EVERYTHING!  It’s a blessing and a dream come true!  For my husband and I, we never expected to live in our own home.  We had a mobile home, that my husband had paid for before we met but the condition was deteriorating, and we had to pay rent on the lot.  We worked as many hours as possible a week, budgeted, and sometimes went without.  We searched and investigated many options to buy a house, but it didn’t look very promising.  A realtor directed us to Karen Cabrera. (INB mortgage lender, NMLS #742269)

We talked with Karen and explained our situation and she directed us to Habitat for Humanity Knox County.  An information meeting was coming up.  We didn’t want to get our hopes up but went and filled out the paperwork.  We met the executive director and other volunteers as we went through the Family Selection process.  When Habitat staff came to do the home visit, I asked them if it was an April fool’s joke.  I showed them my notebook that had an accounting for every dollar we spent.  They were impressed!  We waited to hear and was so happy when the call came that we had qualified.  It was then that we met the rest of the Habitat Family!  I was nervous and excited with so many questions.  God had answered our prayers about a house!  Our hard work and patience had paid off.  We were on a new path. 

Our first sweat equity was to water all the trees and we were excited to do so.  I remember the dirt being so hard at the Groundbreaking Ceremony.  There was a huge pile of dirt after they dug the hole and all I could say was Wow, Wow, Wow!  We worked right alongside the Habitat volunteers in building our house.  At first, I would watch and listen so I could learn and then got to work.  The atmosphere was very nice, positive, upbeat, and respectful on the site.  Praise the Lord!  We were getting a hand up and not a handout from Habitat for Humanity. My husband was in his happy place as he worked alongside the volunteers. 

We moved in right after the Dedication Service.  There were so many people there celebrating with us! My interactions with Habitat also led me to volunteer as Reading Buddy at King School.  There I met more nice people, and they sent a big Welcome Home sign to have up at the Dedication.  My reading buddy also brought his mom.  The memories of this process will always remain in my heart.  I would go down to the crawl space or out to the shed and see the names of people who had donated or volunteered in helping with our home.  You might think this is the end of the story, but it’s not. 

My husband and I continued to be Habitat volunteers and helped our neighbors build their house.  I even got to do some painting at our very first rehab house.  Thank you to everyone for helping us build on faith!