news-habitat-home-at-last-dec2016A long wait is over for one Habitat homeowner’s family

On Saturday, December 17, Thelma Smith and her family will finally come home to a house rehabilitated to allow her to care for her granddaughter’s medical needs.

Thelma’s path to this long-awaited event has been filled with many hurdles over 20+ years.  At age 47, she became 6-year-old granddaughter Trisha’s sole caregiver, then fifteen years later Trisha had a massive stroke and had to be moved to a nursing home. Thelma then became primary caregiver for her 2-year-old great-granddaughter, and raised Alexis alone for the next 8 years in an apartment, regularly visiting Trisha’s nursing home about 25 miles away.

In 2015 Thelma applied and was accepted into the program to become a Habitat homeowner, knowing this would be a way to reunite her family under one roof. Just as she was about to begin required “sweat equity work” on other Habitat homes, 70-year-old Thelma broke her wrist, but nonetheless continued to care for 10-year-old Alexis, visited Trisha, and completed the 300 hours of work to own her own home.

Thelma, along with members of her church and 68 Whirlpool employees, worked on rehabilitating the home she would own. Whirlpool donated 442 hours on renovations that included widening rooms and other accommodations for Trisha’s care.

“I am so grateful, you can’t even imagine. To have my family together again where I can take proper care of Trisha has been my greatest prayer. I am beyond grateful,” Thelma said. “Trisha, Alexis and I will love and appreciate Harbor Habitat forever.”

“I am very, very grateful to Whirlpool for your help, all the volunteers and what you offer to put into my home. I pray blessings on everyone that has helped my family.”

A Key Ceremony will be held by Harbor Habitat and Whirlpool Corporation to welcome Thelma’s family home on Saturday December 17.

About Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat for Humanity International

In more than 17 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool has developed active programs in more than 45 countries with a commitment of more than $95 million. In the United States and Canada, the company has donated more than 175,000 ranges and refrigerators to new Habitat homes, serving more than 87,000 families. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 41,000 products to Habitat ReStore retail outlets, helping raise nearly $5.7 million. The company has engaged thousands of employee volunteers, sponsored nearly 170 homes and donated products to more than 75,000 Habitat families in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Whirlpool supports Habitat’s work around the world through product donations, financial contribution and/or volunteerism. For more information, visit