POSTED: Friday, March 9, 2012 at 03:26 PM PT
BY: Lindsey O'Brien
|Michelle Hermiston began her carpenter career apprenticeship on the Child and Family Resource Center project for Oregon Coast Community Action. (Photo courtesy of Oregon Coast Community Action)|
Michelle Hermiston was pregnant with her fifth child when she fled an abusive relationship four years ago, hoping to build a better life for her young children.
But starting over in the small coastal town of Lakeside proved difficult. Hermiston struggled to pay her bills and eventually moved her family into a local shelter. Now she is a member of the construction team that is building an $8 million facility for the very organization that helped her get back on her feet.
“I’ve come completely full circle,” Hermiston said. “I was pretty much homeless with five kids – it was miserable. It was all I could do to maintain myself through the day. But we’ve come a long way.”
Oregon Coast Community Action, a nonprofit that provides children’s programs and emergency services, played a major role in Hermiston’s turnaround. She enrolled in an intensive case management program at ORCCA that helped her return to school and enroll two of her children in Head Start.
And Hermiston, 33, recently wrapped up her first job as a carpenter’s apprentice, working on ORCCA’s new Child and Family Resource Center in Coos Bay.
P&C Construction is building the $8 million, 30,000-square-foot facility, a CM/GC project designed by Scott | Edwards Architecture. P&C project manager Brian Shoemaker said it was a “fortunate surprise” when he caught wind of Hermiston’s history with the nonprofit.
“We just went through our normal hiring process, which involves trying to find local crews,” he said. “I think the program she went through got her back on her feet and showed us that the things (ORCCA) is doing (are) working; we were happy to have her as part of the team.”