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March 2, 2018

Habitat home is helping Bill rebuild after stroke

Habitat home dedications are always emotional events. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to find themselves at a loss for words when they stand at the podium to thank those who made their home possible.

But for our newest homeowner Bill, finding the right words is a daily struggle.

Five years ago, Bill suffered a major stroke. He actually “died” for two minutes on the way to the hospital, before he was revived by ER doctors. The stroke left him unable walk, talk or drive, and he spent three months in the hospital rehabbing. It also left him in financial ruin.

Slowly, Bill’s words came back. First in Italian—his native tongue—then in Spanish, which he learned at age 5, when his family moved from Venice to Mexico. The last words to come back to Bill were in English—the language his four children all speak.

English continues to be challenging for Bill. He still has some speech impairment from the physical damage the stroke inflicted. The stroke also affected the language center of his brain, so he finds himself struggling to find the right words. His young son Eros tends to readily step in and prompt him with the right word.

But if you take the time to listen to Bill—to wait for him to find those elusive words—you will find he has a lot to say. He will tell you that for everything his stroke took away from him, it gave him something back.

It took away a lucrative, high-powered executive career, but gave him a slower way of life, with more focus on the people he cares about.

It took away a focus on money and material things, but gave him a focus on service and gratitude.

It took away the four large homes he once owned, but gave him his Habitat house—a home that Bill calls his “favorite.” Bill knows every inch of this home, because he helped build it with his own hands, and that makes it special.

Before the build, he and Eros carefully selected all the options for this house—they picked dark wood finishes because they want to create the feel of a cabin. They’ve already hand-painted furniture to make the look complete.

And now, Bill and Eros can finally move into their dream home—their own little “cabin”—thanks to Bill’s hard work and the dedication and support of our many volunteers and donors.

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