Penny and John are Home for the Holidays

Penny Madrid_fig.jpg

“A simple, decent place to live—that’s what they tell you you’re going to get. They don’t tell you that you’re going to get security and a feeling that is indescribable.”

Laughter and smiles, warm cookies on the table, and stockings all hung with care… this is the atmosphere in Penny and John's home during the holiday season.

Penny and her husband John have lived in Denver together for over thirty years, and are proud to have raised their five children here. But, before becoming homeowners through Habitat for Humanity’s program their holiday seasons looked very different.

“Out old house had 5 red tags on it, no gas meter and no septic tank. We lived there for two weeks with no refrigerator, three months with no hot water, and standing sewage in the backyard. The house had two bedrooms, and unfinished basement and no central heating.” Penny continues, “I still wonder how we survived living there for 6 years.” Their children were embarrassed and never invited friends over, no holiday meals or birthday parties were celebrated in their old home. 


Since breaking ground on their Habitat home in April of 1999, Penny and John have built a home filled with warmth and love. “Three of our kids have gone on to get married, and we’ve been blessed with 7 grandkids who fill our house with even more love each time they visit,” shares Penny. Every year since becoming homeowners, Penny and John have hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their grandchildren love lending a helping hand with decorating the Christmas tree, cookies, and gingerbread houses together.

“Sometimes I walk through the house late at night and thank God for what we have,” Penny shares. “When I come home from work and put my key through the lock it feels as good as the day I cut the big, red ribbon off the front door and stepped inside.”

Penny and John have now paid-off their home and are extremely grateful for every single Habitat volunteer, donor, and sponsor that has made their dreams come true.

“They didn’t just build a house—they built a place that gives my family and me those feelings that can’t be described, that makes us feel worthy of it all. It doesn’t sound like enough to say ‘thank you’. I want them to know we feel blessed and each and every one of them played a part in that!”

Donate to build more homes for the holidays