Joel Pierrelus doesn't shy away from hard work. Especially not if it's the type that will bring joy to the three people he cares about the most, his kids.
He's a single father of three working two jobs.
“He probably only gets about five hours of sleep a day,” Joel Pierrelus Jr., his 14-year-old son, said.
And recently he had to put in over 100 hours building homes with Habitat for Humanity as part of the requirements to get his own house.
“I would go to work, take a shower, and go help somebody else build their home. That was part of the process,” Pierrelus said.
He recently got divorced and has struggled to find a place to live. Every time they hiked rent at the apartment he was renting at the time, he had to move. Now, he's staying at a friend's place.
“I sleep on the sofa and the kids sleep in the room,” he said.
The phone call that would change everything came a year ago.
“I just dropped to my knees and was like 'yay!' and started crying,” Pierrelus said.
Habitat for Humanity had approved him for a house and volunteers would help him build it. On Saturday, twelve Florida Hospital Physician Group employees were braving the rain to help with the construction.
“I was taking a look a little while ago and just imagining the kids running around for Christmas this is going to be their home,” Henry Neely, with the Florida Hospital Physician Group, said.
“She said this is going to be her room so I'm not going to argue about it,” Pierrelus said about his nine-year-old daughter.
They always felt at home as long as they were together.
“We're grateful as long as we have a roof over our head,” Pierrelus said.
The house is not free. Pierrelus is still going to have a monthly mortgage payment but thanks to the work of volunteers, he's looking at a lower cost and he won't have to pay interest. The home should be ready in September.
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