After living in Grand County for three years, my family and I made the official move to Moab in 2015. Now, it was a great challenge. We took weeks, actually months, trying to secure housing. Also, in making the move to Moab, I literally was starting over when it came to employment. My wife and I had lived and worked at DayStar Adventist Academy in Castle Valley, UT and when 2015 started we knew it was going to be our last year at the school. So we started praying and looking for housing and it was very difficult but we are grateful that there were options available, specifically lower income housing at Cinema Courts Apartments. I was fortunate to have employment lined up through an internship with the Moab Small Business Development Center. It was through this internship that I was able to start another internship with the Moab Sun News. It was while on an assignment for the Moab Sun News that I officially encountered Community Rebuilds.
In the summer of 2016 a government official within the US housing department came to visit Moab and she was on a tour of Community Rebuilds houses. My task was to photograph the visit for the newspaper. I remember seeing this house that was covered in dirt and I went inside and I was blown away by how cool it was without any air conditioner. I went back outside into the summer heat and I was reminded how hot it was. I called my wife and told her about Community Rebuilds and I kid you not, she said these exact words, “I have been telling you about Community Rebuilds and that we should sign up for it!”. I felt like a fool because I was being stubborn in trying to find ways to buy a house. If I had just listened to my wife earlier, we would have gotten started sooner on the Community Rebuilds process. But, things happen for a reason! We did sign up and got the process started. I am amazed at how fast the time went by. Before we knew it we were intensely searching Moab for trailers with land and affordable land lots. It was a tedious process but in doing it we met plenty of individuals who did not know about Community Rebuilds. We shared information with them and we always walked away with a smile because we may have impacted their futures. Time was running out and it seemed like we may have to wait another semester but a miracle happened.
Community Rebuilds had a piece of land that was beautifully placed with a beautiful view of the mountains. There was one issue though, there was something called gypsum on the land. Gypsum is used to create drywall and when water gets on it, it turns to slush. It is just horrible. Whenever I tell this story to others I always share the fact that Community Rebuilds was always honest with us. They gave us the good and the bad. Yes, it was a beautiful location but because of the gypsum we would build differently and our budget would be seriously affected. We would have to remove some of the gypsum, add dirt, build the foundation deeper and a few other adjustments. They also let us know that we could wait for the next semester. My wife and I talked and prayed about it and we decided to go for it. We are so glad that we did because we got to know an amazing team of hard workers from all over the United States and one from England. Each and everyone of the teammates are unique and different, yet they made the whole experience memorable. I know for sure that they will be successful in life because of their hard work and dedication that they exhibited while working on the houses in Moab. It was an amazing experience and I will forever encourage any and everyone to get involved with Community Rebuilds either as an intern, as a homeowner or as a volunteer. Now, not everyone is going to be able to have a house built, but everyone could help in the build. Thank you Community Rebuilds for making a difference in our lives as well as the lives of countless Moab residents. Now that I am a homeowner, I could focus on making sure that I am always able to provide for my wife, my son and my daughter, as well continuing to help make a difference in Moab. Thank you Community Rebuilds team.