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Celebrating a Mortgage Payoff

Posted on December 9, 2022

We recently had the opportunity to reunite with Fox Cities Habitat homeowner, Dorothy Westphal, to celebrate a major milestone – she made her last payment on her Habitat home! To see Dorothy’s interview, watch the video below.

Dorothy’s home was built in New London in 2007 for her and her four children. She was recently divorced and was wondering what life was going to look like for her as a single parent. She was tired of renting, as it was a large expense and the space she was living in wasn’t her own. Dorothy was referred to Fox Cities Habitat by a friend, but was apprehensive to accept that help from others

“Being that I was born and raised to take care of myself and not ask for help, that was the hardest hurdle. You don’t need to reach out to others, you need to do it yourself… in that process it helped me to be a little bit stronger and more confident. Even though I was asking for help, there were people that would be there for me.

Habitat for Humanity has taught me that I can ask for help without feeling shame about where I’ve been, because it’s where I’m going that really matters.”

– Dorothy Westphal, Fox Cities Habitat Homeowner

Dorothy faced many challenges over the past 15 years; from losing her job, to overcoming thyroid cancer, to managing life’s unexpected bumps and bruises. However, Dorothy remained undeterred. With a lot of hard work and a supportive community, Dorothy now owns her home. She stated that because of the help from friends and Fox Cities Habitat staff, she was able to get through those challenges and still continue to achieve her dream of having a place to call her own.

Dorothy recently hit the milestone of paying off her mortgage this November. She now feels a sense of relief and is looking forward to retirement and all that it will bring, including a few home improvement projects and continuing to make memories with her grandchildren.

Throughout the process, it was scary for her as a parent to figure out how she was going to make ends meet and still manage to support her children. Now she has an asset to fall back on and to call her own. She now has the room to be flexible that she did not have 15 years ago. She states that it is both freeing and empowering at the same time.

Although Dorothy has paid off her mortgage, her passion and support for Fox Cities Habitat continues on. Her and her son have been taking care of an open lot in New London that is reserved for a future Fox Cities Habitat homeowner. She is proud to extend a helping hand to a new family who may be facing some of the same challenges that Dorothy did. To know that she can be a spokesperson for a future homeowner has been rewarding to both her and her son. The opportunity to explore additional volunteering opportunities in her retirement years is also on her bucket list.

Support and Resources

To learn how you can support Fox Cities Habitat’s mission, please visit our volunteer or donate pages. For more information on how to apply, please visit our homebuyer page.