Why Me and Why Now?
The Fairmont community is an unincorporated area of Will County nestled between Lockport and Joliet. I was led to the Fairmont community area in 2004, and immediately began getting involved with the community and building trust among the residents. I built my first 2 homes in Fairmont in the fall of 2006 and they sold immediately. I built another in the 2007 and it sold right away. I followed up by building another home on Luther avenue and yet another one on Godfrey Ave. while purchasing 5 lots surrounding it.
During this period I formed the FAIRAC committee which brought together stake holders to work with Lockport Township and the Will County Land Use Department,and the Will County Board to redefine the size of a lot needed to build a house. At the end of our journey a bill redefining minimum lot sizes in this Unincorporated community area of Will County passed the Will County Board 35 to 0
Then the home building depression came with a vengeance. The bank I dealt with, Community Bank of Lemont was taken over by the Fed and there was no talking to them.
Lost it all.
I went back to my roots, general remodeling for home owners, coupled with quite a bit of work for the Chicago Central District Church of the Nazarene and First Church of the Nazarene in Lemont. All the time watching and waiting for the home building market to settle down.
During this time I was asked by the Will County Land Use Department to sit on a steering committee and work along with CMAP to engage the community and form a general land use plan for the entire Fairmont Area. During that process we identified some localized flooding issues that needed attention. I was asked to be part of a interview and selection process of an engineering firm to address the flooding issues,.We selected a firm, requested, reviewed and approved a plan. We are currently in the beginning stages of implementing the first phase of a storm water water management plan.
During this period of time I moved into the Fairmont community. I felt that I had to live here to understand the struggles the community has gone through the last several decades. I also knew the best solution to help this community rise again was only available from the inside, I had to live here if I was to be part of the solution, a solution that actually worked long term.
Won't you join with me and fellow community members to make Fairmont a strong and vibrant community again.
.... Why am I asking You to be part of this?
Just as Christ commands us to corporately worship in community, it will take a community of people to revitalize Fairmont. We all can see God's hand in our lives if we stop and look back at our life. Looking back and seeing His work is not faith. Real faith is believing He has a plan for us going forward, AND trusting in Him enough to step forward without seeing His plan.
I feel He wants me to share my coming to Fairmont story with all of you. A very, very few of you already know this story.
It was late 2002 and my chronic back pain, something I had since my 20's was visiting me again. The shots of anti-inflammatory drugs were not alleviating the excruciating pain. Many doctors later it was determined I had a ruptured disc and needed surgery. I had back surgery in April and all was well for about 12 weeks and the pain started again. Back with a vengeance. debilitating pain. I spent a week in the hospital for pain management in June, July, and August. Finally they agreed surgery was necessary again, as they now believed the same disc and ruptured again.
Some of the nerves in my back were so damaged and inflamed they could barely move them to address the ruptured disc. After surgery they did not paint a good picture. I went home 3 days later on a lot of pain medication.
The next part of the story is where I have had to rely on others to tell me what happened. Three days home and I passed out about 10 pm and was found the next morning by my mother about 7:30 am. She called 911, the paramedics came and worked on me for over an hour trying to stabilize me for transport. I would be told later by my doctor that when I was admitted to the hospital I had a 25% chance of living. Thirteen days later I went home. Being told you would not work again or walk without a cane is eye opening. Add the fact you will never have a day when you would be pain free. Those of you who know me know how stubborn I can be, and this time it was a good thing. Turns out they were wrong about the not working and cane thing, but right about the pain.
I was in a pretty dark place, trying to function daily was a chore, I literally had to learn to walk again. I could not stand to brush my teeth, the pain was too much. I worked at it daily and got to a point where I needed to do something to keep my sanity.
Being able to drive was a huge accomplishment. I remember just getting in my SUV and just driving. God was my navigator, and directed me to Fairmont. I spent hours several times a week driving the streets of Fairmont, not really knowing why, but I needed to be there. I saw 2 lots on Cameron street for sale that I liked, but no resources or ability to buy them, little did I know, God had all I needed.
The next spring I had progressed to a point where I wanted to build a house. Still without any financial resources, but with the faith if God had led me there He must have a plan, I got a set of house plans and talked to my concrete subcontractor and we made a deal. If I would teach him how to build he would front the money to build a house. He did, and we did, it sold before it was completed.
Now that I had 1 sold house under my belt the bank would talk to me. Remember those 2 lots on Cameron? I asked my Realtor Rose to check into them. She dug up the expired listing and convinced the buyer listen to my offer. Turns out there were 3 lots each 40 ' wide, none of which were build-able. I managed to legally consolidate the 3 lots and then split them into 2 lots, building 2 houses. They both sold within 2 weeks of completion.
Whatever I attempted to do in Fairmont God kept opening doors and putting the right people in my path. I had 2 more houses going, owned 5 lots and had a letter of intent on 4 acres of land, until the crash in 2008/2009. As things were winding down, my bank being taken over by the Feds, God arranged it so I could move into Fairmont.
Soon after moving into Fairmont I was asked if I wanted to serve on a steering committee for the Fairmont area, seems now that I lived in the community I was eligible. Did I already say God always has a plan?
Living here it became more than obvious to me me that Fairmont had some issues that needed to be worked on, if the community was going to make the turn around. The size of build-able lots, the financial and educational health of the Fairmont school, a long range comprehensive workable land use plan which also addressed flooding issues, etc. Many of those roadblocks are in a much better place now, and now is the time to get moving and follow God as He moves forward with His plan for Fairmont.
This initiative will take some time, several months to get off the ground, so please make your decision to be a part of the revitalization of Fairmont. I have several meetings with Will County officials in the coming weeks and months and it would be helpful to know where the support is.
Are you with me?