Sunday, September 16, 2007

Help Save Oliver Hill Farm!

A few months ago in June I blogged about visiting Molly and Bill McGovern and their delightful little family farmette, Oliver Hill. This weekend I received a plea for emergency help from Molly. They were able to buy the farm because they purchased a sub-prime loan: at the time, this was their only option. Last year, they lost their baby son Oliver to SIDS, and then Bill lost his job as a result of all the time he took off to take care of his family during the crisis.

Not to be kept down, Bill started his own business as a home health care aide, Oliver Hill Home Health Care. As an aside, he is thriving in the business: he's a big teddy bear of a man with years of emergency medicine experience. He specializes in helping older men with their health needs in their homes: for those of us who know Bill, this job is a perfect fit for his warm, compassionate personality, and his clients and their families have nothing but praise for his work. Molly has been holding classes in sewing and in the fiber arts for young girls in the area now that family life is settling down after the tragedy of losing their young son.

That's the good news: now for the bad news.

Even though the McGoverns have duly made every mortgage payment on their farm, they are in danger of losing the farm in two weeks, because the company that owns their mortgage is going under, and is demanding full repayment of the loan. If they can't pay the loan in full by October 1st, McGoverns will be out on the street -- in two weeks.

So Molly decided to swallow her pride and ask her fellow Catholics for help in paying off their mortgage. You can click here to see her letter at her blog,

The loan is only for $53,000. While that's a big chunk of change for any one person to handle, it's definitely an amount that could be raised if many people make small donations.

Molly and Bill have set up a PayPal account (okay, I have it working now) to handle donations to help save Oliver Hill farm. Enter the email address to donate. If you are able to even make a small donation of $10 or $20, I know it will help them. Placing her complete trust in God, Molly hopes that they will be able to use any overpayment of the loan to help other families who are in the same situation: as Steve Wood recently warned on his August 23rd radio show, the sub-prime loan industry is in the process of collapsing, taking many struggling families with it.

Please consider making a donation to them: and if you feel so moved, please spread the word.


Marie Everington said...

Does anyone by chance know the name of the company that owns their mortgage? Having that information would be great in terms of bringing pressure to bear on said company to not invoke this clause or at least permit an extension for payment.

Anonymous said...

The family should get an attorney and there are several good Catholic ones in the area. The loan company can not "call in" the loan and wouldn't want to unless the family is behind in their payments. The loan company, if going under, would sell their loan to another company who would be required to follow through on the same terms signed by the family at the origin of the loan.

regina doman said...

Marie - I don't know, but feel free to ask Molly!

SF - I understand what you are saying, but the particular problem here is that the loan is a sub-prime loan, not a conventional one.

I do know that the family has talked to several attorneys and financial advisors already -- and they have been for the past weeks once they were told the news. It's only now, as a last-ditch effort that they've started to ask others for help, since they have no other recourse.

Anonymous said...

Regina, look up subprime loans. The pay back mechanisms are no different from the trad mortgage. If the family was not behind in payments they have the law behind them to protect the terms of their loan. I would have them call my b in l, Mark Fischer, ASAP. (alicia knows his number).

Mrs. T said...

This seems to be happening a lot right now, in response to the mortgage market crisis. A Catholic family in our area are losing their home -- after keeping up payments through a year when the husband was in the hospital for five months straight with an infection which led to heart failure and ultimately a transplant -- at 29. The wife was pregnant through that whole ordeal and delivered their fourth baby just weeks after her husband came home. That was in April; now they are losing their home.

Her mother, who sings in choir with me, says the same thing we're hearing here: attorneys have told the family that they have no recourse. Apparently, though the family were making their full payments, the company was failing to pay out the taxes and homeowners insurance which were rolled into those payments. It's staggering to me that this kind of thing can happen with no legal protection for the homeowner.

David said...

I have to second SF's sentiment. Though the mortgage company might be able to call the loan at any time, I find it hard to believe they can foreclose on a property and take possession of it in 2 weeks.

I am a laywer, though not in Ohio, and would be willing to look at their loan documents and related papers from the mortgage company.


regina doman said...

BTW I have the paypal donation link working now. Apparently you just have to enter molly's email address. BeWarmBeFed is having trouble with setting up a separate email, so Molly said to go ahead and use her email to make a paypal donation. Or you can send a check to:

Be Warm, Be Filled
291 Belleview Blvd.
Steubenville, OH 43952

Mark it "for the McGovern family" in the memo.

Many thanks!

regina doman said...

I'm sorry: for Paypal, use Thanks!

Margaret said...

Dear Regina,

I read the Active Rain real estate blog regularly and saw this idea. Is this something that could be done in Steubenville? If someone could foot the cost to rent the local theatre, then the McGovern's might be able to get a chunk of change from the proceeds.

Here's the link:

A reader from the deep south,


regina doman said...

SF - They do have a lawyer. Thanks for asking!

Mrs. T - thanks for posting. This is why the story rang true for me: my husband and I had just been reading stories of this happening to other Catholic families.

Since you're a lawyer and have kindly offered, if there is a legal recourse for families in this position, it seems like people should know about it, especially the McGoverns and Mrs. T's friends! It sounds like a good cause for a Catholic lawyer to investigate, because it could be there is simply a lot of misinformation around on this issue.

If you do talk to the McGoverns and find out anything they can do, I'd be more than happy to pass on any legal strategies that folks can use to those who are writing and speaking about this issue now, like Steve Wood and Phil Lenahan. I'm serious.

You can email I can be reached at

I do appreciate your thoughtful offer.

Mrs. T said...

Regina, I should add that I've posted an appeal at my blog, too (, for both families. I would be very interested to know if anyone unearths any legal information which might help the family I know here.

I think I've linked to your original post about the McGoverns' farm at least twice since you posted it, because I love it so much -- everything in the photos you posted just sings of family creativity and joy, which is that much more poignant when I consider how the joy and the Cross are so entwined -- in all our lives, really, of course, but in some lives so much more visibly. On a much more superficial level, I've learned to recognize beauty and warmth in my own house, which is also kind of smallish and low-ceilinged and darkish -- but also has a lot of red!

All that to say first, thanks for that original post, and second, that we are praying and wanting to do all we can, because home is home.


Kristyn said...

All the info about the McGovern's situation is no longer up on her blog... is it no longer a need? (Sorry to bug you with this but you're how I found out about it in the first place!)
Kristyn Hall

Kelly said...

Off topic, but have you ever been to this blog?

It reminds me a lot of yours, but without the Catholic perspective.

regina doman said...

I finally found out what's going on: try this link:

Sorry about the confusion!

Kristyn said...

Isn't it great? God is good!