A welcoming neighbor
Following an extensive Army career that began at age 17, Glen Williams and his wife, Claire, settled in Omaha’s Adams Park neighborhood with their five children.
The couple had lived in Kansas, Virginia and Germany during Glen’s military career and were excited to have a permanent home where they could raise their kids and host friends and family. They would soon discover the neighborhood had even more in store, including introducing them to a new business opportunity and community connections they maintain to this day.
During their first years in the home, the Williams prepared to host one of many celebrations, but Claire could find only one clown who would travel to North Omaha to entertain their guests. Glen stepped in to support the clown, twisting balloons into shapes for attendees. She was so impressed that she offered to teach him more.
For a year and a half, Glen went with the clown to nursing homes to perform skits and hand out balloons. Shortly after, he started his business, Balloons by Glen. Becoming a balloon artist has been a way for Glen to connect with his community and bring his neighbors joy.
Glen enjoyed meeting new people through his business, and when he learned that Habitat for Humanity of Omaha would be holding the 2017 Home Builders Blitz on his block, he welcomed an event that would bring neighbors together to better their blocks.
“I went over and asked how I could help,” Glen said. “I learned a lot about my house from Habitat.”
Glen was excited to gain new neighbors and help them build their Habitat Omaha homes. He didn’t expect, however, to have his own house repaired shortly after.
“The staff at Habitat told me they could help me fix my driveway and build a retaining wall,” Glen said. “I didn’t believe them and kept asking ‘what’s the catch?’”
After learning more about Habitat Omaha’s Home Improvement Programs, Glen applied and qualified for both a home repair loan and a veteran home repair project. He had a retaining wall built, his air conditioning replaced and his driveway fixed.
“Habitat fixed my house and made my neighborhood a better place,” he said.
Glen and Claire feel blessed to have been living in their house for over 20 years. Glen enjoys spending time outdoors, working on his yard and taking his dog on a walk, which gives him the opportunity to see and chat with Habitat Omaha homeowners.
“I started calling my block the United Nations,” Glen said. “I’ve got neighbors from all over the world thanks to Habitat.”