Best story submission 2022

Story submission grant voting

We are offering three grants — $1,000, $500 and $250 — to the top three stories as selected by you. If you wish to vote, please email Chris Johnson at with your ranking of the top 3 by Dec. 14. In your email, you can simply put is this way:

1st — Story 1

2nd — Story 2

3rd — Story 3


Thank you!

  • Your name
    Karen Swasey Jones and Lorraine Glowczak
  • Covenant partner name
    Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing
  • Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permission to share (Partner family names are especially important!):
    This is a family recipient who was part of the Bike Adventure that ended in Sebago Lake Maine. This is a story given with permission by John and Linda Gregoire who lives in Windham Maine.

    This is the story that Linda shared at the Volunteer Appreciation night. So beautiful….

    Linda wrote…

    Good afternoon and thank you for coming today.
    I’m here to share with you from everyone who was a recipient of the Fuller Housing Foundation projects, our thanks and gratitude for your kinda help. I don’t just speak for John and myself but I hope I speak for everyone you helped.
    I want to start with a quote that I feel epitomizes the spirit of volunteerism by a woman who dedicated her life to helping the unseen. In the words of Mother Teresa ….”You have not truly lived until you have done something for someone who can do nothing to repay you”.
    Serving the unseen….the elderly , disabled and veterans , who are often both, is a worthy calling. We should remember the unseen weren’t always unseen. They were productive members of our community. So to have a group of caring people come into your life to fix or build and repair something you use to be able to do , but now can not is an unbelievable experience and blessing.
    First the feeling of gratitude is overwhelming. Second the feeling of relief as a need is met …..and then the feeling of how do you ever thank the people that gave freely of their love, compassion,time, talent and resources. It can be so humbling and overwhelming to receive so much. But I assure you , you have been thanked in prayers to be blessed as you have been blessing.
    I think to better understand and relate , we are all part of a big family. Gods family and as Gods children, He must smile and feel the same way we do as parents when our children’s needs are met and they are cared for. God smiled a lot this summer particularly on July 29th , but also on the raining afternoon when the last nail was pounded as the rain fell. None of it goes unnoticed.
    What you all did this summer won’t just last for this summer . After you went home , back to your jobs and lives , what you did will last for years to come. Helping people such as ourselves ( John and myself) and the people who will use the pavilion comes to mind , the number of people who will enjoy your labor, families with their kids who will never know each of you who built the project but will enjoy it for a long time. Every project will be a testament of what we can do for one another when we join together and put our “Faith into Action”. So for every person each of you blessed , I want you to know you changed circumstances, which has changed lives and how those lives are lived and enjoyed . Thank you and God bless you as you are a blessing to so many.
    I hope and pray these projects will be an example to others, what we can all accomplish when we open our hearts and use our hands to help the unseen ❤

  • When did this take place?
    July 29th, 2022
  • Your name
    Julie McKeon
  • Covenant partner name
    Fuller Center for Housing of Utah Count
  • Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permission to share (Partner family names are especially important!):
    Leeza and son Dawson Ridd – Provo, UT

    In 1917, Leeza Ridd’s great grandfather purchased a beautiful Provo Center Street home so his six daughters could attend Brigham Young University. He planted two sycamore trees in the front yard, which grew and flourished with the family. Four generations later, Leeza became the owner of the family’s historic home. In early 2022, Leeza’s homeowners’ insurance company threatened to cancel her coverage unless the now dying trees were removed within 90 days. Due to health and income hardships, Leeza and her son Dawson, who is disabled, were unable to manage the daunting project. The Ridd family nearly lost hope.

    The Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County secured the services of professionals to cut down the trees. Fuller of Utah County, alongside morning and afternoon teams of doTERRA employees, accomplished the task of removing the debris and other significant yard waste in ONE day! Usable firewood was moved to the backyard, and a dumpster was filled to the brim with unruly rose bushes, weeds, and other yard waste. The Ridd’s Provo home was the third Fuller of Utah County partnership with doTERRA Essential Oils Company, located in Pleasant Grove, UT.

    Leeza Ridd felt the doTERRA partnership on her home was especially heartwarming, as her mother had a home essential oil distillery decades ago located in the backyard of this home. Leeza and Dawson were touched by the nearly 40 doTERRA employees who donated their time and energy to help them to safely stay in their home.

  • (Optional) Provide a quote or quotes from someone at your covenant partner relevant to this specific story with attribution to who said it::
    Leeza Ridd expressed her appreciation and said, “I’m so grateful for a chance to pay it forward as you all are paying it forward to me.”

Covenant partner name
Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County

Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permission to share (Partner family names are especially important!):

  • Bill and Annie Holman – American Fork, UT

    To know Bill and Annie Holman is to love them! Long time residents of American Fork, they have been givers to the community throughout their lives. Most recently, the Holmans volunteer with the Foster Grandparents Program at a local elementary school, endearing themselves to young children.

    Bill and Annie, anticipating declining health needs, have been saving money to install a wheelchair ramp on their home. Following Bill’s last surgery it required several strong men to carry him up the stairs and into his home. Fuller Center for Housing Utah County helped them make the goal, seemingly unfeasible at this point in time, a reality this year.

    Through Just Serve – a volunteer coordinating organization supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – Fuller of Utah County connected with Baxter BIM (Building Information Modeling) in Orem, UT.

    Baxter BIM offered to survey the project and give a bid at no cost. Todd Baxter, owner, arrived at the Holman’s home with his elementary aged daughter and son in tow. As soon as they saw the Holmans, they ran to greet them with warm hugs. It turns out that Todd’s children attend the same elementary school where the Holmans volunteer.

    Baxter BIM generously installed the wheelchair ramp with their able team, completing the bulk of the work in one day. Follow up work days, with Fuller’s own Brian Zillich, Baxter BIM put the finishing touches on the project. The company donated not only their time and expertise; they donated some of the needed materials as well as gave more to the Fuller of Utah County!


  • Your name
  • Covenant partner name
    Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County
  • Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permision to share (Partner family names are especially important!):
    “I’m thrilled to death!” said Marlene Kaiser of the Fuller Center for Housing’s (FCH) most recent Greater Blessing project. Thanks to the expertise and generosity of local 3D construction design company Baxter BIM, combined with the FCH team, Marlene is enjoying a brand new deck and wheelchair ramp.
    At 88, Marlene is no stranger to paying it forward. She has volunteered or worked for nonprofit agencies her entire life: disabled veterans and the developmentally disabled, and she even served as secretary for Habitat for Humanity. She has provided a place to stay for people in homelessness and currently teaches English to a boy from China. Marlene has faced many health challenges, the death of a developmentally disabled daughter, and other family hardships, all with a smile and hope in the future. She gratefully watched the process of having her old, dangerous, and dilapidated wheelchair ramp removed, new cement footings poured, and a new, sparkling white deck and ramp built for her. “You’ve drastically improved my home,” she sighed with relief. “This project will not only help me stay insured; it will make my insurance cheaper!” Fuller provided the crowning touch with a donated patio table with four cushioned chairs so Marlene can now spend time with friends and family on her new deck. “It’s so much more than I ever expected!” said Marlene with delight as she said goodbye to her Fuller friends.
  • (Optional) Provide a quote or quotes from someone at your covenant partner relevant to this specific story with attribution to who said it::
    Marlene Kaiser:
    “I’m thrilled to death!” “You’ve drastically improved my home!” “This project will not only help me stay insured; it will make my insurance cheaper.” “It’s so much more than I ever expected!”


  • Your name
    Tara Ross
  • Covenant partner name
    Fuller Center for Housing of Salt Lake
  • Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permission to share (Partner family names are especially important!):
    When I sought God’s guidance in the fall of 2021 for direction in an already busy season, I remember specifically asking repeatedly: where do I subtract? God answered in a very different way than what I was expecting so I repeatedly asked for clarification. I couldn’t deny the word I simply heard: multiply. I had no idea how that was possible, but I knew He knew the who and the what and the when.

    Although our Fuller Salt Lake City Chapter is less than two years old, among the most critical lessons we’ve learned is the value of collaboration and partnerships. So when, not coincidentally but providentially, and on the heels of our openness to obey steps toward multiplication, we were approached by a group of folks called My Hometown Rose Park (MHRP) to partner on a large effort, we said yes. MHRP is a group of couples united as members of our state’s predominant religion, commonly known as Mormonism, and by their desire in their golden years to put their resources in time toward elevating a low-income neighborhood in Salt Lake County called Rose Park. One of their goals was to complete five “Days of Service” during which they invite the neighborhood community to work on maintenance and repairs for willing low-income neighborhood homeowners. Another one of their goals was to select a nonprofit to partner with specifically to build awareness and encourage and multiply the reach of that nonprofit. They found and called Fuller. And we gladly, in obedience, answered that call.

    After months of meetings, we not only planned a large event, but established deep respect and friendship for one another. We may have sat at a table where different strains of theology were represented, but it was one where we had a common goal and purpose to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who without judgment offered compassion and acknowledged need and set an example and a model of putting time and his effort toward the care of those in his literal path.

    We held the first Day of Service on April 30. Over 150 Community volunteers gathered in a circle early that morning. I shared a short devotion on the story in Luke Chapter 5 when a group of friends creatively find a way to lower their paralyzed friend through the roof to get to the feet of the Jesus they believed in, the Jesus who heals, the Jesus who makes away, the Jesus who is faithful to His promises, the Jesus who has a plan that we can trust enough to keep walking and taking the next right step. That morning, we fanned out across the neighborhood, working on nine different properties, raking and painting and weeding and cleaning and yes, working on a roof.

    One of the unique opportunities of the Fuller model is a structure that allows participation from volunteers of all ages, for families and individuals and couples, for people of different backgrounds to come together and pull together in unity around a need and to develop relationship through the process of transforming a place or a space for someone in need. And in that, at the feet of Jesus, we are transformed too.

  • Your name
    William “Bill” Sutton
  • Covenant partner name
    Clarksdale Area Fuller Center for Housing
  • Submit your story basics, including names of those who’ve given you permission to share (Partner family names are especially important!):
    The Kahaleua Family Gets New Home, 2014
    Clarksdale Area Fuller Center for Housing

    When she got the terse call from the police at her nursing home job, Veronica Kahaleua knew there was trouble. Nothing, however, could prepare her for what she faced as she drove up to her home on Garfield Avenue, in a troubled neighborhood of Clarksdale, MS. There, on the ground, being attended to by emergency medical technicians, was her ten-year-old daughter, Quamesha. As Veronica rushed to her daughter’s side, she was told that the girl had been severely wounded by a random bullet fired from a passing car. It was, as she later recalled, a mother’s worst nightmare.

    Miraculously, Mesha survived, and, equally miraculously, she suffered no long-term physical effects of the shooting, but, as her mother tells the story, psychologically, she had become withdrawn and fearful. Returning to the same rough neighborhood didn’t help matters, especially when, two years later, Mesha narrowly escaped injury again when another random bullet passed through her bedroom wall just after she had left the room. Understandably, the Kahaleua family became determined to move to a safer neighborhood, but there was no immediate solution to their plight. Then they heard about Clarksdale Area Habitat for Humanity, Clarksdale Area Fuller Center for Housing’s predecessor in the housing ministries of the Mississippi Delta, and friends urged Veronica to examine its program.

    As Veronica tells it now, she was reluctant to apply to Habitat, because she thought her chances for acceptance were slim. Finally deciding to heed her friends’ advice, however, she attended the next public session for interested, potential homeowners, and dutifully submitted her application. A few weeks later, she was surprised to hear that she had made the final round, and, subsequently, overjoyed to hear that she had been selected! Her home was to be in a new Habitat subdivision, the fifth of what would be six new houses, and she eagerly threw herself into the preparations for construction by meeting with the Affiliate Coordinator, attending potlucks, and learning all she could about Habitat. And when construction did finally, begin, she and her family threw themselves into the sweat equity process. A year later, they gratefully left the old neighborhood and moved into the new house on Choctaw Street.

    Moving out and moving in were genuine blessings for the Kahaleua family, but many challenges remained. During the process of moving, Veronica took in a young child from the old neighborhood and raised him as her own son, which made the new home fuller than it had been. More troubling, Mesha continued to struggle with the traumatic effects of her wounding, and would relate almost exclusively only to Veronica. But in the process of transitioning into the Habitat family, the family came into contact with representatives from Spring Initiative, a dynamic afterschool enrichment program founded by young people from IL who had originally come to Clarksdale through the auspices of Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge program. Spring leaders had continued their connections with Habitat and when they heard of Quemesha’s plight, they offered her a spot in the program. With great hesitation, Veronica and Quemesha finally accepted, and Mesh began a long new journey of recovery. Throughout her high school years, Mesha became deeply involved in Spring, and gradually, slowly, she began to come out of her shell, and when she went on a weeklong Spring summer trip in 2015, it was the first time she had been able to be apart from her mother for any length of time at all.

    Two years later, Mesha graduated from Clarksdale High School and with a lot of help from Spring and encouragement from her Habitat family, she applied and was accepted to Mississippi State University. Last year, despite pandemic chaos and other challenges, Mesha graduated with a degree in social work and returned to Clarkdale where she immediately found appropriate employment. Her ultimate dream is to open her own social service agency, specializing in treating trauma in young people, many of whom have wounding experiences similar to Mesha’s.

    Meanwhile, as Spring Initiative grew to include more students in their increasing recognized program, they needed to hire more cohort directors. Having come to know Veronica, first through Habitat and then through Mesha’s involvement, the Spring founders, as part of their effort to recognize local folks’ gifts and to empower them to utilize them, decided to hire her mother—a decision they have never regretted! Veronica was an immediate success story on her own and, as a native Clarksdalian, has enhanced the status of the program throughout the entire town, with similar hires becoming possible as the program continued to grow.

    Throughout all of this, however, and to this day, Veronica remains deeply involved in what is now the Clarksdale Area Fuller Center for Housing and, even at the end of long workdays, attends as many potlucks as she can, while members of her family continue to volunteer on the occasional work Saturdays even though their sweat equity hours have long since been achieved. Veronica is a deeply committed Christian woman and never shies away from any opportunity to give God all the glory what has transpired in her family (now grown again, as she is providing a safe and loving home for two young nieces whose mother tragically died from a heart attack). It is not a stretch to say that she and her family remain at the center of all of what CAFCH is doing in Clarksdale, and epitomizes the larger mission of the Fuller Center—to not only provide homes for those in need but also to empower those long disempowered by recognizing their talents and experience giving them room to operate for the good of all.

  • When did this take place?