Our homes are our castles—our place of serenity from the noise of the outside world. However, homes require regular maintenance and sometimes that can be overwhelming for a homeowner. That is where Habitat for Humanity of Greene County can step in to help.
Volunteers from the organization spent two gorgeous days last weekend removing a rotted screen porch on a Ruckersville home, as well as building a porch gutter system, a soffit and gutter replacement on the front and the back of the circa 1890s home.
The property has been in Quinton Croxton’s family for more than 100 years.
Croxton, who served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1980-89, lives in his ancestral home on Amicus Road. His family is buried on the property, in fact. Maintaining the structure has been a challenge for Croxton, who was disabled by an accident more than a decade ago.
Croxton’s mother grew up on the property, though in a house that is no longer standing, and while he grew up in Baltimore the family would visit every single summer. He remembers when Twin Lakes was just Quarter Creek Farm, where he and his siblings used to play in the woods every summer.
Habitat for Humanity of Greene County, which is a chapter of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, has had to take a hiatus from volunteering due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, with increased vaccinations, a larger group was able to be present last weekend for the large job.
“We’re a volunteer-based organization,” said Rusty Burwell with Greene Habitat. “So, we need all types of people to help—from somebody that can pick up a board to someone who can hammer a nail. We’ll find something for them.”
Burwell said in the five years he’s been active in the chapter, he’s learned a lot that he’s been able to translate into work in his own home. There are experts on hand and volunteers are able to learn new skills themselves.
There are also volunteers who work with the families directly, help with marketing and bring lunch for the volunteers on work days.
“It’s a friendly group,” Burwell said. “We want folks to enjoy themselves. We work hard, but we take care of people.”
In addition to building ramps or providing needed maintenance to a home so people can remain in it, the chapter does build homes for those who qualify. The organization has built six total and had two finished in 2017-19, prior to COVID-19.
Burwell said there is one family that has been approved for a new home this year, but the organization still needs to locate a piece of land for the structure.
The most recent Habitat home was built on Va. Route 230 in 2019 on land donated by Margaret Curran in memory of her parents, Judge John Joseph Morris and his wife, Genevieve Eddins. The structure was crafted by the carpentry students at the Greene County Technical Center and purchased by the chapter at a discount.
“It’s clear to us that there are needs in Greene County,” Burwell said. “There are folks that are struggling to stay in their homes—because they’re elderly or a veteran or the maintenance needs are overwhelming. We can step in and help them keep their homes, which is what we call Critical Home Repair.”
In addition to volunteers, Greene Habitat is looking for Critical Home Repair projects in the county. Burwell said the chapter works with several partners throughout the county, so if it’s something they cannot do, the chapter works to find a different organization to tackle it.
“The problem is much bigger than Habitat,” Burwell said. “The need is bigger than we can address, so we’re always behind the curve a bit, but we’re running as fast as we can.”
Croxton said he’s grateful that the work from Habitat will help the home last for future generations.
“I love it here,” he said. “This is like my family’s legacy. I’m never leaving.”
Financial and land donations are tax deductible. To donate financially, visit www.greenehabitatva.org/donate.
To become a volunteer, visit www.greenehabitatva.org/volunteer. Applications to be-come a Habitat family and for critical home repair are available on the website at www.greenehabitatva.org or by calling (434) 481-1771.