PRINCETON — Everything seemed to guide Nathan and Amanda Madison toward becoming the next family to work with Gibson County Habitat for Humanity.
Things a small as their new home coming to life on a street matching their last name — something construction manager Larry McConnel called fate — to running into director Greg Goodson at the grocery, all the way to their continued dedication to improving their financial situation.
In the application process to become a Habitat family, the second time was the charm for the Princeton couple.
"This is the second time that the Madisons applied. They had applied a year earlier and were declined because of some issue they needed to work out, financial issues," Goodson said. "I worked with them and counseled them a little bit on what they needed to do and how to go about some of it."
The couple got to work on fixing those issues, paying off debt and fixing their credit.
"They went back and began to get things paid off and taken care of and then came back and applied again," Goodson said. "Which showed us that they had the determination to do what it takes to make the program work."
During that time they ran into Greg at the grocery, and he encouraged them to apply again. Their family and friends continued to encourage them as well.
"It was like God was kind of whispering to us, 'Keep going,'" Amanda said.
Amanda said the family was definitely in need and the traditional path to buying a home wasn't quite working for them. Amanda and Nathan and their children are living with relatives after their mobile home became unlivable.
The couple has four children who live with them, and Nathan has three other children. This means the home will deviate slightly from the normal Habitat build which is a three-bedroom home.
It will include the addition of a fourth bedroom, but it shouldn't add much extra time to the build. Right now the date for completion is looking to be early spring.
Amanda said the kids, ages 15, 13, 6 and 5, are excited about the home, but she isn't sure it has all clicked for them just yet.
"My oldest daughter, she's excited for her own room," Amanda said. "She's ready for that, she's tired of sharing."
They each have a part they're most looking forward to. For Nathan, it's the deck on the side, and for Amanda, it's the kitchen and addition of a bathroom.
"We all share one bathroom right now," she said.
One requirement for the family is that they put in a minimum of 250 hours of work on the house themselves. Nathan is already making a dent in his share of the hours, and he leaves the site a little more excited each time.
"Every time I'm called, and I can go work, and I see more getting done for that day, I get excited and go around shaking everybody's hand again," he said.
He updates Amanda on the progress each day, and though she may not always see the major progress in some of the minor updates, she's excited as well.
She said the chance to be involved from start to finish gives them the chance to learn how houses are built, how they work and how to fix it if something goes wrong.
"The Habitat program has found years ago that people who help build their own house are more likely to take care of it and appreciate it," Goodson said. "That's also basically their down payment in the house, we call it sweat equity."
How to help:
The Gibson County Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that benefits from fundraising and donations throughout the year. Donations can be made online at gibsoncountyhabitat.com or checks can be mailed to 1302 W. Brumfield Avenue, Princeton, IN, 47670.
The builds also utilize about 40 to 50 volunteers. To check on volunteer opportunities call the Habitat office at (812) 385-243.