WILMINGTON — “I really thought that there was a slim-to-none chance that we would be building a house this summer,” admitted Jaimee Wipperman, as she stood on her new home’s front porch.
Last November, Jaimee saw the Wilmington News Journal article about the need for a Habitat for Humanity partner family that wanted to build a home in Wilmington. On her lunch hour, she took the Habitat application and seriously doubted she and her husband Brandon would be eligible.
“I told my co-worker that I had to try; I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t complete the form. I decided not to tell Brandon,” she confessed. “I didn’t want to get his hopes up.” This couple has seen some heartbreak in their young lives and Jaimee was trying to protect Brandon from further disappointment.
Their journey started in 2014. Jaimee and Brandon were the American Dream. They were living in an apartment with solid jobs. Then, four months after they found out that they were expecting their first child, Brandon was diagnosed with cancer. Much of that sad year was a blur of treatment and trying to stay optimistic about their future.
A month after their daughter Zoey was born, Brandon and Jaimee got good news from his doctors — he was in remission.
While Jaimee knew that a Habitat home would be a positive change for their fortunes, she was not sure they would meet the financial requirements. During his recovery, Brandon lost his job and they decided it was better for their daughter to have a stay-at-home dad.
All Habitat homes are repaid with a no-interest loan and 500 hours of sweat equity. The payments are adjusted to the family’s ability to repay. There is a minimum income requirement to ensure that families can afford to be homeowners.
After filling out the application, Jaimee got the next-step approval call from two Habitat volunteers, Elizabeth Biganne and Jayne Garber. “I was so excited and I had to tell Brandon that we might be future home owners,” Jaimee said.
Since that meeting, the couple has been working toward the goal of their new home on Howard Street. “We cried for joy when we found out that it was going to happen,” said Jaimee.
Jaimee said that building a home with Habitat support and volunteers has been the most rewarding thing they have ever done. “The one thing I would tell anyone is, go for it! Fill out the application, you will be so glad.”
The Clinton County Habitat organization is searching for a 2017 family. To find out more about building a home, call the Habitat office at 937-655-9484.
“I knew it was going to be work and it has been,” Jaimee said. “I can’t tell you how happy we are — this will be Zoey’s forever home.”