Habitat for Humanity of Wake County staff member Missy Hatley clearly remembers the day last year when she was contacted by Richard Deans ‘13, chair of the Class of 2013 legacy committee. Deans explained that his class planned to raise $35,000 to help a family build a home in the Triangle.
When the group of 45 seniors was discussing ideas for their legacy project, it was decided their efforts would have a broader impact on the community. As a result, the Class of 2013 launched an ambitious fundraising campaign. The legacy committee set a goal to have each senior send 100 letters to members of his or her local community requesting donations to support the endeavor.
After six months, the class raised over $37,000, which granted them status as a Silver Hammer sponsor. As the lead sponsor on the Siu/Roo Family Home, the seniors were allocated a number of Saturday workdays. During the fall, the students worked over 250 hours alongside the owners and other volunteers from the Triangle on projects such as framing the house and hanging vinyl siding. TheNC State campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Bank of America were the Copper Hammer sponsors on the home.
Ultimately, the project has had the greatest impact on the lives of Y’Hah Sui and Nhoun Roo. Sui’s journey from the central highlands of Vietnam to their new home on Green Jacket Trail in Raleigh is a compelling one. In 2001, at the age of 17, Sui participated in a single event that placed his life in jeopardy. After attending a freedom demonstration against the communist government, he had little choice but to leave his native Vietnam. Sui walked for 17 days through the jungle to a United Nations refugee camp across the border in Cambodia. Many who began the journey with Sui died along the way. The United States government later relocated Sui to America on June 20, 2002.
“I have been lucky to always have had a job on the United States, but I could not have afforded a house without Habitat’s help” says Sui. For the last five years, he has been a park maintenance worker in Garner. While working in Garner, Sui met his wife Nhoun. The couple now share the home with their two-year-old son, along with Roo’s teenage sister and brother, whom the couple now share custody of after the passing of their parents.
At the home dedication ceremony in early February, Deans spoke on behalf of his class. “It was a great privilege to have been a part of this project,” says Deans. “We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate.”
The mission of Habitat for Humanity of Wake County is to build safe, affordable houses for qualified homebuyers regardless of race, religion, or background. Each home, constructed in partnership with homeowner families, sponsors, and volunteers, is sold for no profit to a family who is granted an affordable 20 year mortgage.