Overcoming the odds

Published 2:00 pm Monday, April 12, 2010

By By Lisa Tindell
Jennifer Dorriety has overcome many obstacles in life — but facing one head-on has brought her an opportunity she never thought possible.
Dorriety and her daughter Kaylee will be the newest family to become owners of a home built by Escambia County Habitat for Humanity — the first Habitat house to be built in Atmore since the organization expanded to include the entire county.
The journey to home ownership has been marked by tragedy for Dorriety, but Habitat director Alecia Glaize said watching the strength Dorriety has shown has been inspirational.
When she was 12 years old, Dorriety’s stepfather was murdered by her uncle — and as a witness, Dorriety had to testify against him.
Many years later, Dorriety’s grandfather died, leaving property to Dorriety’s mother, aunts and uncles. To become owner of the land — the first step needed toward her dream of home ownership — Dorriety had to seek signatures from eight aunts and uncles, including the uncle she had watched kill her stepfather.
Dorriety’s journey has been an emotional process, Glaize said.
Dorriety has already completed her required “sweat equity” hours to become a Habitat homeowner, traveling to Brewton several times last fall to help build a house for April Nicholson. Her 13-year-old daughter accompanied her on many of those trips.
Dorriety’s land, located on Johnson Road in the Nokomis community, is surrounded by family, which will be a blessing for her and her daughter.
A design class at Auburn University is designing the house, which will have two bedrooms and one bath.
Glaize said the structure will be the first non-slab structure built by volunteers with Habitat.
Dorriety said she and other members of her family have worked countless hours clearing vines, limbs and other undergrowth from the property, making a family party of the work on many occasions.
The build, set to begin May 21, will require many volunteer hours and even some sponsors to make happen, Glaize said.
This year, Habitat is working to attract sponsors who will pledge at least $500 and 100 volunteer hours to the project. The build will begin the weekend of May 21, but will likely continue for another six to eight weeks, with much of the work done on weekends, Glaize said. A club or church could sign up as a sponsor, she said, spreading out the cost and man hours required.

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