April Redd moves through life at a dizzying pace; “I have a special drive and determination that God gives me.” She holds down a full time job in the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in the accreditation section while being a single mom to her two daughters, Romia Robinson and Jessica Redd. Her volunteer choices include being on the finance committee of Love House Ministries where she’s also involved with their Dollar A Day Afterschool Care program and the recently acquired Community Bowling Center. Add to this list that she is vice-president of the Lady’s Island Middle School Parent Teachers Organization, volunteers at the St. Helena Library, is a member of the Disabled Americans, and her commitment to
Habitat for Humanity.
The only girl, and youngest of four children raised by a single mom in Washington DC, April learned about hard work and dedication at an early age. “My parents divorced when I was seven years old. My father was given up for adoption as an infant and remained in the system until he ran away from the orphanage at the age of sixteen. He dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to never return, but he was a very smart
man and he was talented at whatever he had set his mind to; he died in 1994. My mom dropped out of high school after tenth grade, she started a nursing program but didn’t finish because she began having children. My mom led by example; she lived it as she walked out this walk, so I learned it from her. She worked full-time and part-time jobs as a janitor/custodian for the airport and the federal government and wasn’t afforded the opportunity to receive government assistance from the state. In my case, that was an act of God because I have that same fire within me. I started working when I was thirteen to aid her with my costs for various activities; I joined the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) and needed things like gowns so I was able to buy them myself and take that cost away from her.”
After she graduated from high school, April joined the Navy. She spent four years on active duty and fifteen years in total including her time in the Reserves. For six months, she was deployed to the Gulf War in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm, and was activated for six months as part of Operation Enduring Freedom after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. “My position in the Navy was in damage control – I was primarily a firefighter,
but when there were no fires, I was a plumber! I didn’t join the Navy to be a plumber. But I learned how to make my brain work for me so I didn’t have to get dirty any longer. Even now, I don’t like getting dirty – my idea of camping is staying in a hotel!”
Stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, April went to boot camp in Orlando FL in July of 1990; she says, “I didn’t even realize the war was going on while I was there. I went straight from boot camp to the ship, USS Puget Sound. I got out of the military in October of 2005. “I believe that people can learn more from watching than we can ever tell them. What I teach my girls is – be moral citizens, stay true to your faith, do more, love more, and it makes a difference. I live my life trying to be morally and spiritually sound before God and man.”
April’s drive and determination spurred her to continue her education. Succinctly, April says, “If I don’t work, my household won’t be provided for.” She achieved her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Management from Northern Virginia Community College in May of 1999. Ten years later, inMay of 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Human Resources Management from Park
University. Continuing to strive for excellence, in December of 2012, April attained a dual Master of Arts Degrees in Management/Leadership and Human Resources Development from Webster University, with a 3.7 GPA.
It was in 2006 that April and her daughters moved to Beaufort and shortly after, in January of 2007, she began working for Beaufort County in the building codes. In 2009 she was transferred to emergency management, and in 2013 that department was taken over by the Sheriff’s Office. However, it turned out that April’s neighborhood was neither a safe place to live nor to raise her girls. In addition to her job and all of her volunteer work, April became a recipient of Habitat for Humanity’s housing program in 2011.
Fortunately for April, she had a friend, Mary Weber, who shared with her information about Habitat for Humanity and their program for home ownership. In 2010, April was selected for the program after successfully completing the application process, which is stringent. According to their website: “Applicants must be legal U.S. residents who have lived or worked in Northern Beaufort County for a minimum
of six months prior to application. Applicants must be currently living in substandard housing, which can mean it is overcrowded, in poor repair, in an unsafe neighborhood, or overpriced. Applicants must have a low income, but still be able to afford a Habitat mortgage payment. Applicants
must be willing to partner with Habitat in our mission. All homeowners are required to contribute ‘sweat equity’ volunteer time on their own home, other Habitat homes and at the Re-Store and attend educational workshopsA single-adult family must complete 250 hours of sweat equity; a two-adult family must complete 400 hours.”
In April of 2011, the Redds house was ready in Penn Center Village on Saint Helena Island. April was at first a bit awed by St. Helena. “St. Helena was foreign to me, I hadn’t even been out here when I was living in town; I was used to DC where there were multiple ways to get in and out – here there only are two bridges!” The house that was chosen for the Redd’s is called the “Dataw House” so named because a group of residents at Dataw Island formed the Dataw House Committee and worked in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to raise the money to sponsor the house.
Now happily ensconced in their new home, April, Jessica and Romia, who is currently in Army boot camp at Fort Jackson, continue to make a difference in their community. When April volunteers at the library, Jess reads to younger children. When Jess is in a play or performance, April is back stage. Jess’ next performance, as the head villager in The Rockin’ Tale of Snow White, will be performed November 21 – 23 at USCB and she hopes everyone will come to the play.
April still volunteers at the Re-Store, is the Family Support Coordinator for Habitat, and tries to attend every new home dedication. Very simply, at the end of the day, April modestly says, “I love giving back.”
Story by MARY ELLEN THOMPSON | Photography by SUSAN DELOACH