“I was one of seven kids. My mom and dad raised us on $350 a week. He was my stepdad and raised us as his own. We had a big garden and ate a lot of beans and rice. Dad is 100 percent blind in one eye and took care of all of us the best he could.
I dropped out of high school. Me and my mother didn’t get along as well as we could have. She signed custody of me to a friend of hers. I got married at 18 and that marriage didn’t last long. I became a truck driver even though people told me I was too small to drive a truck. I carried a CDL for 15 years. It was fun and I got to see the country, one of my dreams. As a woman, I went to one truck stop to eat and shower and went to another truck stop to sleep. It was easy to be harassed at night at truck stops and I just let them assume that I was a guy. I was a also a champion barrel racer and went to school to become a medical assistant and operator for the refineries. I wanted to show my kids they could do anything they wanted to do.
God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but sometimes he pushes the limits. My mother died the year to the date before Hurricane Harvey. My grandmother died the year before that and my aunt the year before that. Every year I was getting hit with funeral costs. A couple of years ago, a car hit me and sent me into oncoming traffic. It knocked me out of my shoes. The day of Harvey, I was averaging 17 steroid injections a year between my neck and lower back. I quit the injections cold turkey and quit going to the doctor so I could use the money to help rebuild my dad’s house that was flooded in the hurricane. I have been off everything since the day of Harvey and had to recover myself.
My dad’s house flooded and had roof damage. He had battled cancer and all of his money went to medical bills. The house was 100 percent paid for. but If he had walked away, he would have only gotten $17,000 for the land. That is not enough to find another home and neither one of us had money to repair his house. He is hard headed like me and refused to stay with me, so I went in one day at a time and gutted his house, rebuilt the inside and begged for any materials I could get. A group of people at a church were helping with food and getting rid of mold. Rick, the pastor, told me I had to take out all of the walls to get rid of the mold. I gutted it out all of the way and scrubbed his two-by-fours until they looked new. One of the churches brought a little sheetrock and I finally got him a room. It was hard by myself. Pastor’s Army formed at the church and they knew I built my dad’s house and asked me to give input on some of the houses. The next thing I knew, I had a non-paying job seven days a week working on houses.
We have teams coming in to work with us. I love teaching kids how to work. Teams make a huge difference. four of us working on a house verses 100 of us work on a house gets things done much faster. I love seeing smiles on people’s faces. One of my clients said no one would help her, then we did. Repairing houses through Pastors Army is the first time I have done something this big. My kids do this with me and that is important for them to see it is not about receiving
When we first came to this neighborhood, no one knew who we were and they didn’t trust us. We left food on the curbs for them. After a while, they learned our vehicles and knew we were here to help. Finally, they started coming up to us to get the food off the trailers. It took a while to build trust. They don’t know who is here to help them or hurt them. Now they are excited to see us.
I am working on ten houses right now and there are 30 we could be working on. We are totally funded by donations. There are days we are low on materials and we can’t work and then we will get a call with a donation of 100 roles of insulation or something else we need. God keeps providing ways for us to help others. I haven’t had a day off in months, but the last three weeks I have taken a few days off to compete in a fishing tournament. I am trying to catch one with a red tag and win a truck. I have a tiny car with a tiny trunk and can’t carry supplies. A truck will make my life easier because we still have years to go with rebuilding homes.
I always helped people and it is who I am. I am not a receiver and hate to ask for help. If someone helps me, I have to help them somehow even if it is doing side jobs. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, I cook for three days, enough for an army, and invite anyone in, especially the ones who have no place to go. I am hardheaded with a big heart. You aren’t going to tell me I can’t do something because I will prove you wrong.”
(Pastor’s Army can always use donations for supplies. Girt cards to Home Depot help out a lot. Let me know if you want to give and I will give you details)