PORT ST. LUCIE — Ryan Hadley, the older brother of Tyler Hadley accused of murdering his parents two years ago, donated part of the inheritance he received from his parents to a Habitat for Humanity home.
"I am grateful in spite of my loss," wrote Ryan Hadley, 25, in a letter that was read by St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Garret Grabowski at Friday's ceremony dedicating the home to Blake and Mary Jo Hadley.
Ryan Hadley reached out to Grabowski and originally wanted to donate the house where his parents died, but Grabowski said the house couldn't be transferred to Habitat for Humanity because of "pending items" on it.
Instead, Ryan Hadley donated an undisclosed amount of money in memory of his parents to Habitat for Humanity, which used it on materials to renovate a foreclosed home donated by Chase Bank in the 2900 block of Southeast Pruitt Road.
A year later, new residents John and Sharon Kerr are moving into the home thanks to Ryan Hadley's donation.
"It's important to him to let everybody know that he didn't run away from this," Grabowski said. "He's really going above and beyond to make things right. By him giving back to the family that received the house, that's just a tremendous gift."
John Kerr, 65, said he had spent his life in the housing business while his wife of 40 years, Sharon, worked in the medical field. They were each forced into retirement when the housing market crashed five years ago and Sharon suffered from disabilities that left her unable to work.
The Kerrs moved from Fredricksburg, Va., to Fort Pierce more than three years ago and bought a trailer. John Kerr said he and his wife didn't feel safe in their neighborhood and were struggling to find a new place to live.
Soon after they moved, John Kerr put his building expertise to work as a volunteer with St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity.
"They know how to make a house run well, and they make sure the bones are good," John Kerr said.
After helping with one house, he and his wife, along with their 8-pound Italian greyhound Izzy, applied to become the tenants of the Port St. Lucie home the organization was refurbishing.
The agency requires its tenants to put in 300 hours working on the homes they move into. The Kerrs put in 400 hours, but it won't be the last house John Kerr said he'll work with.
"It's my way of giving back and contributing to society," he said."
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