Woman raising grandchildren receives keys to Habitat home

Donna Renschen finally has a place to call home.

"It's a good day," the Cape Girardeau woman said just before she received the keys to her new Habitat for Humanity home on Sunday afternoon.

The past five years haven't been easy for Renschen. In 2001, her 22-year-old daughter, Trisha, passed away while waiting to receive a heart transplant. Renschen -- who also endured a failing heart until she received a transplant 16 years ago -- was left to raise her two grandchildren.

After becoming a new mother, Renschen endured financial burdens and was forced to move three different times with her two grandchildren.

Last year, the Rotary Clubs of Eastern Missouri announced it would build a Habitat house in Cape Girardeau. The local Habitat for Humanity group selected Renschen and her grandchildren to partner in the construction of the new home.

Renschen invested more than 500 hours of her own time -- twice the required amount -- to make the necessary sweat-equity down payment. For the next 20 years, she must make monthly payments to retire the mortgage.

"I'm going to continue helping out with Habitat. It was a wonderful, amazing experience," Renschen said.

Rotary's District governor Stacey Self said the Rotarians are in the process of constructing five additional Habitat homes.

"I'm sure my daughter is smiling right now. She'd be extremely happy for us," Renschen said.

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