The Demel Cousins

Family Tradition

The Demel Cousidemel-picns

Over the holidays, Habitat was blessed with a special group of volunteers in the ReStore. The Demel family of Elgin, Illinois, and Granger, Indiana, spent a day in our ReStore warehouse sorting and organizing inventory items, to make more room for incoming donations.

The Demel group are cousins who get together over the holidays each year, and then choose to do something positive within the community.  What a great tradition!

Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County welcomes family volunteer groups at any time of the year, to help in the ReStore or in Construction. To schedule your family for a day of giving, contact Molly Prime, Community Volunteer Coordinator, at


Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Tatman

Four years ago, a nice gentleman walked into our office and said, “I’d like to volunteer.”  It was Jim Tatman.

Jim is a retired school teacher and retired for a second time from a trophy shop.  He relocated to Elkhart County from Columbus, Ohio, to be nearer to his daughters and grandsons, who live in Elkhart County and Chicago. 

Jim was looking for something to do where he could lend his skills and his time, and he did so in a big way!  He has led all of the Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County volunteers by having the most construction hours in 2014, 2015, and 2016!

 Jim is great at doing anything that needs to be done in construction.  He is an exceptional painter, and enjoys doing more of it on the side, too. 

Having grown up in the Columbus, Ohio area, Jim is an avid Ohio State University fan.  He attends several games a year. 

jimThank you Jim Tatman, for being the wonderful person you are.  You inspire others with your gentle grace!

Johnson Family Spotlight


Charissa Johnson has always wanted to provide a safe and stable home for her son, Jayveon (6).  They currently live in an apartment in Elkhart, and Charissa has some concerns about the neighborhood.  “Our apartment has been broken into three times and there was a murder next door,” she states, “Last week there was a cop chase through the backyard.”  c-johnson-family

 Charissa first learned about Habitat’s Homeownership Program while babysitting for another Habitat Homeowner.   Charissa didn’t think she would qualify, but her mother pushed her to apply.  “I’ve always had a dream of owning my own house, but being a single mother there’s no way,” Charissa said. She applied last fall despite these doubts and was pleasantly surprised when she was accepted.

Charissa is a Nationally Certified Senior Pharmacy Technician at Walgreen’s.  She really enjoys her job.  When she isn’t working, she is spending time with her son and other family members and friends.  “Friends and family are important to me,” she says.  She and her son enjoy taking walks and going to the park.  Jayveon plays soccer and loves riding his bike outside.  “If he can be outside he is happy,” Charissa smiles.  Jayveon started Kindergarten earlier this year.

Charissa’s dream of homeownership will soon become a reality.  She selected a lovely lot on Morehouse in Elkhart for her and Jayveon.  “My money will finally be going towards something that will actually be mine,” she says proudly.  She is not the only one ready for their future.  “[Jayveon] is so excited…Everyday he is asking me: When are we gonna move? When can we have a dog?”

The safety and stability of their new home will provide a positive environment for Jayveon to grow up in. “I just want to make sure he goes to a good school and is successful,” Charissa states. The affordable mortgage payments will make it possible for Charissa to go back to school and complete the last semester of her Medical Assisting Degree.  Construction on their new home is scheduled to begin in early 2017.