Over the past several months, several employees had suggested that Next Century sponsor a community event, and we had been looking for an opportunity. Our President/CEO, John McBeth, met with our event-planning team and mentioned a project he is organizing with DreamBuilders, a not-for-profit organization that builds/renovates houses for those in need. (John is one of the DreamBuilders founders.)

The Background

DreamBuilders helped renovate a home in Sykesville, Maryland owned by Charis and Adam Pena. The Penas moved to Maryland in January of this year from Austin, Texas when Adam, a Navy Linguist, started a tour of duty at Ft. Meade. Rather than move into base housing, the Penas decided to make Maryland their home, as their two gifted and talented children (Raith and Evie) attend K through 12 schools. Having done their homework, the Penas recognized the excellence of the Howard County school system.

Unfortunately, the Penas had never owned a home, much less one in a northern state. They had never been in a home with a basement. They obtained a VA loan, which included a VA home inspection. What they didn’t know was that the VA inspection was not a full home inspection. Upon the recommendation of the VA, the Penas planned to get a full home inspection. Unfortunately, the selling real estate agent discouraged this. “The seller won’t fix any problems with the home, so it would be a waste of your money.” The Penas acquiesced.

Shortly after moving into the home, the family began to experience problems. The heating failed. The family moved all of their beds into the family room and huddled around the fireplace (which also needed repairs) for heat. The basement flooded. The hot water heater stopped working. The problems piled up. Being industrious, the whole family began to work on the home, tearing out the useless HVAC system, clearing junk from the yard and storage shed, demoing interior walls, etc. As they did this work, two things happened:

1.     Adam injured his arm, which required surgery and a cast for 3 months. This effectively put him out of commission on the home repair work.

2.     They discovered even more problems with the home, including serious structural issues.

The Penas reached out to the Howard County Office of Veterans and Military Families for help. The County referred them to DreamBuilders. After hearing their story and visiting the home, DreamBuilders began working behind the scenes to help. They are now gearing up to do some major renovations to the home. Several local businesses have pledged to help. These include Window Nation, Mallick Plumbing and Heating and Starr Systems (electricians). At this time, building permits are being pulled, and the renovations are being planned.

Thank you to all Next Century employees who volunteered and helped make this possible!