When folks look at Chyenne Hill, they see a young mother of eight children.
She says they don’t see the abusive marriage she escaped with her children, the two jobs she works to make ends meet, or the nursing career she put aside just to keep her family together.
But on Wednesday, more than 100 people saw a complete picture of Hill at an unusual house-warming party held in a chilling drizzle of rain just off Highway 905.
They saw her hard work and determination, her unwavering commitment to her children and her reward for those efforts — a new house she and her family built with the help of Habitat for Humanity.
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“This is a new beginning,” Hill said in front of her home at Hope’s Crossing, a small community of houses built by Habitat for Humanity and the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.
“We had a home, but when I went to the victim’s advocate, I told them I couldn’t keep the home. I was married for 10 years. I stayed in that abusive relationship just to keep my kids together,” Hill said. “Nobody knew anything, the only thing they see is I have eight kids.”
“Nobody saw me getting hit for working late making extra money, nobody saw any of those things, all they see is this woman with eight kids. And I would do anything for my kids,” Hill said.
That “anything” included 200 hours of sweat equity she put into the home, paying off all her debt and the closing costs of the small, five-bedroom house. All while holding two jobs at a grocery store and restaurant, and helping her children stay active in school sports and activities.
The new home, she says, is the best Christmas present the family has ever received.
“You are an inspiration, you are a role model, and you’ve raised amazing children,” said Carla Schuessler, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Horry County. “This home is just another foundation that you give them for succeeding in life.”
Norm Clay, president of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, called Hill a woman of proven character, who persevered through two years of work to build her home while never giving up her faith.
“For many years she’s hoped, and today that hope is Hope’s Crossing,” Clay said.
“For the years of struggle, today you have a testimony, for in life,” Clay told Hill. “We all have difficulties, but it is out of the difficulties of life, out of those tests, that comes forth a great testimony for generations to come. And the families that come forth out of this will be able to come to this piece of property right here at Hope’s Crossing, and say this was the testimony of my mother, and how she fought hard, and how she hoped for something greater for her family.”