Galveston Bay Team Helps Make Dream Come True for First-Time Homeowner

Jun 3, 2024 2:20 PM ET
  • Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery partnered with Bay Area Habitat for Humanity Houston to fulfill the dream of a single mother who wanted to purchase her own home.
  • In addition to sponsoring the habitat build, employee volunteers from Marathon Petroleum took part in building the three-bedroom home in Texas City.
  • This marked the 172nd home built through the non-profit and its community partners since the program launched in 1991.

Born and raised in Galveston County, Texas, April Laijas had always dreamed of owning her own home. On Tuesday, April 16, 2024, that dream came true for the single mother of two when she received the keys to her brand-new house in Texas City.

“As a single mom watching home prices always going up, I wasn’t sure if this day would ever be possible,” Laijas said. “I am beyond excited to start making memories with my girls that we will cherish for years to come.”

The path to her new reality was made possible through the Bay Area Habitat for Humanity in Houston (BAHFH), with support from local businesses like Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery, a sponsor of the project. Families interested in purchasing a home through BAHFH must meet certain criteria. Members of the household are required to give 300 hours of “sweat equity” toward building the home as well as other Habitat homes and attend specific financial budgeting and homeownership courses.

“From start to finish, this has been such a rewarding process to be involved in,” said Vice President of Refining Dave Leaver. “It’s an incredible feeling to know our people played a role in helping to make this family’s dream come true.”

About a dozen employee volunteers from Marathon Petroleum took part in construction of the three-bedroom home, which broke ground in late 2023. Refinery Maintenance Foreman Cory Bush took it a step farther by donating a washer and dryer to April and her family.

“So many people in our community came together to support this deserving mom and her two girls,” Bush said. “To see the smiles on their faces at the dedication event was such a powerful moment to witness and something I will never forget.”

This marked the 172nd home dedicated by BAHFH since the non-profit was founded in 1991.

“We are so grateful to all who came together to build this beautiful home,” said Megan Scheffer, Executive Director of Bay Area Habitat for Humanity Houston. “Every nail, every hand and every dollar helped turn April's dream of homeownership into reality, and we could not have done this without you.”