Hector Flores’ home in the middle of June was hot, dusty and cramped. Tattered bed sheets tried to block the blazing South Texas sun coming through the small square windows. As a single parent with four children, it’s hard to find time to keep up with the housework.
Flores has been a single dad of four – Hector Jr., 14, Rene, 11, Sandy, 7, and Tania, 6 – for the past five years, officially. He used to live in a tiny, trailer-like home that he slowly assembled by himself in an attempt to give his children a safe place to live.
Unofficially, he’s been a single dad for eight years since his ex-wife left for Mexico without telling him. Raising four children alone is hard but not being able to work because the youngest isn’t school-aged made it even harder. A trained mechanic, he did odd jobs when he could but struggled to make ends meet.
Flores heard about Buckner International from his neighbors in Peñitas. He caught Ricardo Brambila, director of the local Buckner Family Hope Center, one day in the parking lot. Flores explained his situation and asked if Buckner could help. Brambila told him about the classes offered at the Hope Center and volunteer opportunities.
“It’s so rare for a man to come forward and admit that he needs help, especially in Hispanic cultures,” said Brambila. “We could see that he was determined to help his children.”
The following day, Flores went to the market at the Hope Center. The Flores family also attended a Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® back-to-school distribution, where children each received a new pair of shoes.
“I came to life,” Flores said. “I felt more youthful. When you go for help, because Buckner brings shoes and clothes and many things, you start thinking, those are new things, they are not
little things; they are big things, incredible things, the things Buckner does.”
Flores enrolled in family coaching and classes at the Family Hope Center to become a better father. He completed the Fatherhood 24/7 Initiative course, which teaches men about their identity, discipline and how to leave a legacy in their families.
Since Flores completed classes and family coaching, he earned enough points to qualify for a new home built by teams working through Buckner Domestic Missions.
“Hector’s life in the past nine months has been transformed,” Brambila said. “We believe he is doing it, Buckner is just part of it. But he’s the one who’s determined to change his present and, in effect, change his future for his kids.”
New home, new beginnings
During a three-week span last summer, Flores’ old house was torn down and a new and improved one was built in its place. More than 100 members of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Austin, spent a week putting up the walls and siding of the house. They painted, installed sinks and toilets and set up beds in each of the rooms.
At an emotional ceremony at the end of the build, church members prayed over the home and the family. They presented Flores with a Bible and the key to his brand new home.
“I am very grateful first to God and to all the people who have helped me; since I met them I've had enough support,” Flores said. “I am going to be a good father now thanks to [Buckner]. Now that we have a new home, the children and I will live better.”
Chelsea Q. White is a writer and photographer for Buckner International.