The Gardner Family
Casey Gardner never had a place to really call home growing up.
She remembers living at more than 20 residences and going to 13 elementary schools. Gardner lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Desbarats, Echo Bay, London and in Saskatchewan.
She vowed her children wouldn’t also keep getting uprooted.
Jett, 5, the daughter she has with her husband Jeff, has lived in four rental homes since her birth. Finding a place the couple could afford was a challenge.
“Some of the affordable houses aren’t really the most desirable,” Gardner told The Sault Star. “Not the best condition. We’ve lived in some pretty crummy places. We made do with what we had and this is definitely just a step up for us.”
When asked what Casey was most looking forward, she replied, “Stability! Growing up I craved stability and this gives us that. [I look forward to] investing in our new home.”
As a mother, Casey is looking forward to a safe and decent place to call home. “Home is love. Home is safe. Home is memories and strength,” says Casey. “We are just so thankful for this chance.”
“This is our home,” said Casey before volunteers started work on siding and flooring on Saturday morning. “I still can’t believe it … I never really had stability growing up. This gives my family that. My daughter won’t experience what I did bouncing from home to home.”
When the Gardner family did an initial walkthrough of their new Habitat for Humanity home at 685 McAllen Street, Casey and Jeff’s five-year-old daughter Jett already knew what room she wanted.
“She found the biggest room, and declared that her room,” said Casey Gardner. “She even had a special paint picked out for her room - it’s a different colour than the rest of the house, and she made sure they painted that room for her.”
“It’s unreal. It’s beyond anything we ever expected,” said Gardner. “I’m blown away. I don’t know what else to say.”
Gardner says that she quickly took to the building of the home following a ‘women’s build’ event at her new home.
“I realized I actually like building the house,” said Gardner. “It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it. I want to help with the house next door while I’m living here. It was wonderful.”