Charmion Herron moved to Milwaukee when she was two years old. Like most kids growing up in the 1960s, Herron spent a lot of time playing outside. Although she became involved with the wrong crowd, she has since achieved a master's degree and a few bachelor's degrees. Now 51, with three grown children, she has survived endless adversity that her dedication to her family, home, and faith has helped her overcome.
Herron’s objective throughout her life has been to persevere. At 18, she struggled as a new mom, living away from home. Even though she was in a difficult situation, she still pursued her high school education and eventually received a bachelor’s degrees in Education, Criminal Justice, and Special Education at the Concordia University. She later earned a master's degree in Teaching.
In 2010, soon after her mother’s death, Herron's cancer diagnosis forced her out of her home. The family’s Washington Park home was foreclosed due to forces beyond her control. Having no income for two years, Herron took desperate measures with the help of her daughter to save the family home. Ultimately, she was forced to sell the home and move out. During this time, it was only her faith that kept her going.
It was by the grace of God that the City of Milwaukee picked up the home in a rent-to-own program. At this point in Herron's life, the home had become a memorial to her mother. This, along with Herron’s attachment to the community and childhood memories of the home, would encourage her to do whatever possible in order to get the home back. ACTS Housing program in Milwaukee made her dreams come true. Herron chose to first rent and then buy back this familiar building. Even after a near eviction, the ACTS program allowed her to rent the home at a price that she could afford. She closed on the home in August 2015.
It is not only the building that is important to Herron. She is also attached to certain objects and locations inside her home. Herron preserves those objects that her mother loved –– her mother’s rosebush in the front yard, her decorative geese on the front porch, the colorful rooms, and, most of all, the stairs, which she played on as a child and were prized by her mother. Herron’s commitment to and positive influence on the Washington Park community will continue for many, many years.
Charmion Herron, Interviewed by Nicholas Teresi, June 2016
Matthew Wisla, "City Works To Prevent Foreclosures," Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, May 24th, 2015
Banner Photo credit: Matthew Wisla