Success Story: Debra Farley
2020 was not easy for anyone, and Debra, a U.S. Army veteran, had a difficult year. Debra enlisted in the U.S. Army as a 20-year-old with one son. A few years later, she had triplets. A few more years later, she had her last son. Through all her pregnancies she stayed in the military, serving from 1983 to 1989 as a medical supply specialist.
After transitioning out of the military and raising her children, she was laid off due to the pandemic in 2020 and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. By May, she had a lumpectomy. Due to the financial burden of joblessness and medical expenses, she fell behind on her bills and was experiencing housing instability.
Despite being overwhelmed, she remained hopeful. We connected her to the Purple Heart Homes Golden Corner Chapter, where they helped her with food and temporary housing until her tiny house was available through Bronze Star Homes, a veteran-owned business by a Marine couple in North Carolina. Because of our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we were able to help her pay her electric bill in full.
One of the times Debra talked to Bill, the president of Purple Heart Homes Golden Corner Chapter, he said, “One thing about it, Deb. Your house was built with love.”
Debra moved into the tiny house on November 21. Debra says she is enjoying the process of adjusting to life in the 10×32 foot house. She says she has been trying to get settled and make it a home. She even put up wind chimes.
Before she officially moved into the tiny house, the History Channel asked if she would mind telling her story as a veteran who was homeless and the first recipient of a home from Bronze Star Homes. The segment aired on November 11, 2020.
Debra said, “I was blessed to have my church and people come through. I’m blessed to even be in that house. It was so fast. I’m just saying. I just met [Upstate Warrior Solution] in February [of 2020].”
Debra’s hobby is gardening. Debra said, “I love gardening. I want to get the landscape around that property because the house is so beautiful. I [have] potted plants and perennials. I would love to have a garden this year. Eventually, I want to have it as a really thriving garden with everything I like.”
This year, Debra found out she is in full remission and said, “I’m grateful. I don’t have to wonder where I’m going to sleep.”