Born and raised in New Braunfels, Tina Martinez faces every day as a new opportunity and challenge to better herself for her family.
“I’m 61 years old. I’m a mother of two, my daughter (Candy) and my son (Frank). I have seven grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren that I love and adore with all my heart. And that’s what I’m here for – my family, my beautiful family,” said Tina.
“My daughter and my son… I love them. I love them with all my heart. They’ve been there for me. Candy’s been there all 100% and I adore her. She’s my friend. I can talk my daughter, (she) never lets me down, she’s always by my side. And my grandkids, I love my grandkids,” said Tina.
One requirement of Comal County Habitat for Humanity’s program is that Habitat homebuyers complete “sweat equity” hours – our partner families work with us in the ReStore, help build their own home and sometimes work on other homebuyer’s homes.
“To me it was like a mission,” said Tina. “that I’m gonna accomplish, complete my sweat equity hours.”
Tina’s grandchildren, Tony and Chloe, wanted to help their grandma with her sweat equity hours but they’re too young to come and work in the ReStore. Comal County Habitat allows younger children to help with sweat equity hours by giving them “A’s for Hours.” Hours are added up for each grade of A, B or C. Together, Tony and Chloe donated 27 hours in one semester to help their grandma reach her goal of 350 hours.
“(They said) Oh grandma, we’re ready, we’re doing good in school! Grades are up, we’re doing it all for you grandma, just for you,” Tina said.
Living on her own, Tina faces obstacles with the condition of her current home.
“The home where I live now is not in good condition, but I live there,” Tina said. “There’s no other way. I survive.”
Some of the unsafe conditions of her current home include a floor that is falling through, electrical issues and lack of insulation or heating and cooling.
“My floors are going down, I just put boards and nail them all around. When the winter comes it gets cold. It’s very cold. I keep myself warm with the stove,” said Tina. “The heaters I can’t trust with the electricity… it happened already two times it caught fire… so I stopped putting heaters. I just used my gas stove and I managed.”
Although Tina’s living conditions are challenging, she looks forward to her future in her Habitat home.
“I’m ready to be here and learn different things that I’ve never done before. It gets me so excited because I wanna do things that I’ve never done at the house just being at home by myself… I couldn’t do anything,” Tina said. “I was getting so upset, emotional, (because) I couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that. I was giving up on myself. Coming here (Comal County Habitat) changed my world. I met everybody, I talked to everybody, and I enjoy it. For them, I have that courage.”
When picturing her Habitat home, Tina lights up the room with her smile.
“Oh my gosh, I’m gonna love my house. I’ll be safe and secure knowing that I don’t have to worry about nothing anymore. My favorite room will be the living room, looking out the window and adoring it. I’d really like to be outside looking in… looking at my house through the outside just adoring it for hours, walking around my house, going inside the living rooms, my rooms,” said Tina. “My kitchen, a washer (and) dryer. All the rooms that I never had and never thought I was gonna get. That was the only thing that I always dreamed of having – a new home. A ‘new build’ home to be safe and secure.”
“I survived and I’m still surviving. And I will never give up on myself,” said Tina. I will always look forward to a better day every day. Open that door and face the world (and say) ‘I’m ready for you’.”