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For the last few years, Discount Labels Trade Show Coordinator Marie Miller has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity with her church. Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity® (www.habitatcfi.org) is a nonprofit organization of community volunteers who join together to build adequate, affordable housing for people who need it.
In 2017, Habitat announced that since its founding, more than 13.2 million people have built or improved a stronger, more stable place to live with Habitat’s help.
In the fall of 2018, Miller and her family will be moving into their own Habitat home. And it’s not just any home; it’s special in all kinds of ways. For one thing, this home is designed and built for Courtney, Miller’s special-needs daughter how suffers from Wolf-Hirshhorn Syndrome. For another, this home is being built, in part, by Miller’s Discount Labels co-workers who she refers to as “Courtney’s Crew”.
Marie Miller tells the story this way:
“Habitat for Humanity is a ‘hand up,’ not a handout. You pay your mortgage and closing costs, and you also have to put so many sweat-equity hours into the home. Our church began volunteering some years ago, and I became part of that. I have a special-needs child and we’re currently living in an apartment. It’s just not a great setup for all of Courtney’s equipment, her wheelchair … so after building several houses with my church, and thinking about it a lot, I decided to apply for one of our own.”
“I was beyond thrilled when I got word that we’d qualified for a Habitat house,” continues Marie. “This home is for Courtney … It’s really kind of a miracle. Our new house will be handicapped-accessible. Wider doorways, a wheelchair ramp, a special accessible bathroom … basically, our Habitat home will let us continue to care for Courtney at home instead of having to put her into a care facility.”
When Miller got the news, she was so excited she couldn’t help but tell Jen LaGrange, her longtime friend and Discount Labels coworker. Jen asked Marie if she could share the news, and it wasn’t long before Marie’s team members were asking how they could help. So the team scheduled a “Build Day” for July 25, and it’s been all hands on deck – and drywall, and floor, and plumbing, and roof – ever since. The Discount Labels graphics department has even designed “Courtney’s Crew” team T-shirts for the big day. Check out those construction workers in the photos – such a good-looking bunch they could audition for a Diet Coke commercial ;-) !
Jerry Leonard, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity/Clark and Floyd County, says “Without the great support of companies like Discount Labels, this would not be possible. It makes such a positive impact on the community. It’s extra-special when we do a build for a wonderful family like Marie Miller’s. We know they’ll cherish this house and make it their forever home.”
Miller says her family hopes to move in sometime in September or October; it all depends on the weather, the number of volunteers, and availability of materials. (Building a Habitat Home usually takes about nine months to a year to complete.)
One of the first things Miller plans to install when they do move in is an accessible swing set for Courtney. The other first thing? A garden. “We grew up in the country, but after Courtney had two critical “stat flight” episodes in six months, we moved into town to be closer to the hospital. But we all really miss the outdoor time. We can’t really take Courtney to regular playgrounds, and she has so missed the chance to be like other kids. Plus, we’ve all so missed growing our own fresh food. Yes, a garden, in our own backyard. The first day we’re in, I’m starting one!”
In the meantime, beyond her required 200 hours of “sweat-equity,” Miller goes to the site every chance she gets. “We’ve actually started a photo album of the different stages. I’m making a scrapbook with pictures of the volunteers and the house’s progress. I’m by there weekly; I try to take my lunch and run over there and meet the groups and thank them in person.”
Miller hopes her co-workers will enjoy the experience so much that they volunteer for Habitat for Humanity on a regular basis. “Discount Labels stays involved in this kind of stuff with the community. This one’s personal, obviously, but hopefully it’ll grow. The more volunteers Habitat has, the more they can keep costs down. Plus, it’s just fun to do. You never know what part of the job you’ll be doing, but it’s always enjoyable, and so rewarding.”
Other friends and family have joined in building “Courtney’s House,” too.
Miller sums up: “It’s awesome, knowing our home is being built by our friends, family, and my Discount Labels family … I’ve worked with these folks for the last 11 years, and it means a lot. I’m very excited, and so grateful. I admit, it was a little hard to get over having people know my story, but once you get over the ‘I don’t want to share my troubles,’ you don’t have anything but gratitude.”
Cheers to you, Marie, and to Courtney, your family, and all the people who’ve helped build Courtney’s new home. It’s a privilege to know you, and to be not just on your team, but on your crew. Thank you for the opportunity!
Located in New Albany, IN, Discount Labels has been in business since 1965. With more than 70 presses, 500+ label experts, and continuous investment in technology, sales, and support for its trade-only partners, Discount Labels has the capacity to meet any label demand and leads the industry, producing billions of labels, decals and stickers each year. For more information, contact Marketing Director Debbi Ulmer at (812) 981-4823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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