Photo and video by Andrew Wigdor / MTSU Sidelines
Jonathan Greer, 34, a caretaker at the Stones River Physical Therapy Center in Murfreesboro, is a local recipient of a Habitat for Humanity house, and, through his required “sweat equity,” the father of two plans to make the building a home.
The walls of Greer’s future home first went up during a “panel build” held at Middle Tennessee State University in November 2017.
“I remember that moment,” Greer said. “It was very exciting putting them all together at MTSU. It was just a joyful moment to see people help build things for me and to see that first wall go up. At the end, everybody signed their names (on the walls) and wished me the best of luck. I was nothing but honored.”
Greer’s future residence marks MTSU’s seventh Habitat for Humanity project. Every year, the university performs panel builds, and student volunteers travel to Habitat for Humanity’s Murfreesboro “ReStore” to assist in the build process.
Bailey-Anna Teague, an MTSU junior and business administration major, joined fellow Alpha Chi Omega sorority members on a Saturday in February to help out at the store.
“We’re all about service in the sorority,” Teague said. “I think it’s important to see that the campus and the school can give back to the community … It’s an important reminder to do what you can with your time. We have to dedicate that to someone who deserves it. I read about Jonathan and his family, and it was really touching.”
Greer said that he first heard about the opportunity from his cousin about two years ago. He currently lives in a small apartment with his family and is excited about the opportunity to provide his children with a backyard to play in.
Greer has finished approximately 180 hours of sweat equity and must finish 300 hours by the end of the build. Home recipients are required to work a certain number of hours on their builds and take homeowner classes in exchange for a house that comes with an affordable mortgage and zero interest on payments.
“The past two years, I’ve been coming and learning things,” Greer said. “I’ve been learning ways to budget and save and everything from the bottom to the top. (The classes) are just making me a better person and helping me learn how to do the right thing when I get my housing.”
Greer said that he was extremely grateful for the opportunity and had no issue getting his hands dirty and assisting in the home build. He stated that his future residence would mean that much more to his family since he was a part of the process.
“It makes you appreciate it a whole lot more because you are actually working on something from the ground up, and you have volunteers come out and help you,” Greer said. “Because it’s not just me buying something. It’s me actually building and watching it come from nothing to something.”
After the walls were set in place at MTSU, the build officially started on Feb. 7, 2018, and is scheduled to end on April 22.
Greer has two children, 8-year-old twins Jaden and Deleisa, who attend Black Fox Elementary School in Murfreesboro. Greer said that his children can also assist in the process by getting As and Bs in school, which will count for some of Greer’s required hours.
“Some people have asked me if I’m going to cry,” Greer said. “I say, ‘Nah, I’m a man. I can’t cry.’ I don’t know though. Some things get me emotional. I’ll be very happy though.”
Greer stated that his grandfather was a big inspiration and a powerful force in pushing Greer to create a good life for his children.
“My grandfather worked hard for everything he owned,” Greer said. “He established in my mind that if you want or need something, you got to go out and earn it. You can’t just have people give you everything. You have to work for things in life … So, I’m just trying to give that back to my kids too.”
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