Single mom: Habitat home 'a dream come true'
Annie Reed admits she has made some poor decisions in her life.
She considers a day nearly a decade ago as a turning point.
"In 2005, I was at my friend's house one night crying and someone knocked on the door," Reed said. "It was Aaron Weible, the preacher from New Site Baptist Church. Because of him, my whole life changed."
Reed said he was able to help her get an apartment for her and her four boys, Angel, now 15, Francisco, 13, Raymond, 11 and Victor, 7, to live.
"He helped me get myself together," Reed said. "I started attending church and I found God. I kicked drugs and started reading the Bible. I ended up turning my life around because of God."
As a young adult, Reed said she was rebellious, dropping out of school as a junior, experimenting with drugs and going down "the wrong road."
"I wanted to do better for my kids," she said.
Reed now has a job with EFCO, and continues her quest to make a better life for herself and her children.
Part of that life includes a new home, built by herself and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Monett/Purdy.
"I am so excited," she said. "I have a house, but this will be my home. It's permanent, stable. It will be the place I raise my children and the place where we build memories."
Reed and her family will be the owners of Habitat's eighth house in Monett -- a three bedroom, 2-bathroom structure with a kitchen, utility and living room.
"My kids are excited," Reed said. "My three youngest will share a room and bath. They get the master bedroom. My oldest son and I will each have our own room. That seems to be the best way to work things out for my kids, and I'm all about them."
Reed has some furniture to move into the home when it is completed, hopefully by the end of the summer.
"I am hoping to work overtime and be able to get a few new things for the house as well," she said.
The new property also features a big back yard.
"I have dreams to get some gardening done, put up a fence and a storm shelter," Reed said. "I've already picked things out for landscaping in the front of the house."
Reed, who is required to put in a minimum number of hours of "sweat equity" in her new home, said she plans to be there every time volunteers are scheduled to work throughout the summer. Some of the sacrifices will be difficult, but Reed said she is determined to help build her new home.
"I may have to miss some of my boys' games," she said. "But they know that this is for all of us.
"It's hard, not knowing when we can move in. We're praying for volunteers."
Reed said now that they are older, her boys are very helpful around the house, trying to ease her burden of being a single parent.
"My oldest will make dinner when I have to work late," she said. "They are the men of my house and they know it. They're protective of me."
Her boys are what drives her toward success now.
"I've worked hard for this," she said. "My kids deserve it."
The oldest, Angel, dreams of joining the Air Force when he graduates high school.
"He loves football," Reed said.
Francisco, who loves wrestling, is planning to join the Army.
"Ray-Ray loves football," Reed said. "He's been playing since he was in fourth grade. He wants to be on a SWAT team or join the Drug Enforcement Agency. He watches all the Navy Seal boot camp shows."
Victor, the youngest, is primarily interested in playing video games.
"I urge my kids to join the military and learn careers," Reed said. "We have a really good rapport. I wish my mom had talked to me like I talk to my boys.
"After all that I have accomplished, quitting drugs, drinking and smoking, this feels like my reward. This is a dream come true for all of us. I feel so blessed."
Reed said she loves raising her children in the Monett community.
"I have a great family support and a great church family," she said. "But my greatest blessing is my kids."
The one life lesson she hopes her children absorb over time is the obstacles she has overcome to develop into the woman she is now.
"I want them to be able to say I am a good mom," Reed said. "I want them to be proud of me and I want to be a good role model for them.
"If not for my kids, I wouldn't have the strength to be the person I am now," she said. "I had to go through everything, lose everything, to become the person that I am today.
"I love that person. I thank God for my crazy kids."
Groundbreaking for the home is 10 a.m. today at 111 E. Nellie.