Our Family House is reserved for individuals who are in desperate need of a safe haven from emotional and financial hardship as a result of a family healthcare crisis.
Whether you need a night or two or a long-term stay, we will do everything we can to accommodate and support you at no cost.
Interview with Estelle Holmes
“They helped me through some really hard and rough times. They are my second family.”
In spring of 2011, my husband went to Sacred Heart Hospital to have gastric bypass surgery. Everything went according to plan until the second day after the operation; he suddenly was not getting enough oxygen and the doctors had to put him into a comatose state where a machine was breathing for him.
My life changed instantly. I live near Tallahassee, and as a retiree on a fixed income, I couldn’t afford a costly hotel. To be near my husband, I slept in the hospital chairs and did sponge baths in the hospital bathroom. After a month, they transferred my husband to Baptist Hospital, where a chaplain mentioned Martha’s Vineyard: The Family House.
I had no hesitations about staying with them. They invited me into their home, and I felt joyful for the first time in a long time. I couldn’t believe how nice they were. I was exhausted, and they fed me and made me feel comfortable. I got a first good night’s sleep in a month. It felt so good to not be sleeping on chairs and not worry about having enough money to get something to eat. The house was so comfortable and quiet. It felt like home.
Little did I know, but I’d be a guest for six months. During that time, I had my own room and washed my own clothes. It felt good to do my share at the house – I liked to do the dishes and run errands. They didn’t want me to help, but I was glad to take my mind off of what was happening with my husband. We went to church together and went to yard sales on the weekends. They became my second family – joking around to lighten my mood and offering comfort when I needed it.
On November 5th 2011, Baptist rehab called and told me my husband had a heart attack and took a turn for the worse. By the time I got there, he had had another major heart attack and passed. Marty and Dennis came to the hospital and helped me, and even came to his funeral.
If you haven’t been through it, you don’t know what it’s like. It’s lot of stress: you don’t know if your loved one is going to make it or how you’ll pay the bills at home. People asked, how did you do it? I put one foot in front of the other and did what I had to do. But without Marty and Dennis, I don’t know what I would’ve done. Even years later, they are my best friends. You couldn’t ask for better people—they are truly wonderful.
I’m happy to say Ken has made an almost complete recovery (he just needs to build up his stamina, but otherwise he’s back to normal), and I attribute that not only to the excellent care of his doctors and nurses, but to the many heartfelt prayers that were sent for his sake. I must also mention Sean Latham, who told us a story one night in the Tacketts’ kitchen, only weeks before he passed away, detailing his encounter with God. Perhaps, where he is, he knows how much it affected me, as I often doubt so much.
I pray that Martha’s Vineyard will continue doing the good work it does. I’ll pray for Marty and Dennis Tackett too, but they don’t need my prayers as they’ve already earned their place in Heaven.
Jerry’s sister Tracy and I live northeast of Birmingham, Alabama. As soon as we got the call September 30th, we left our homes at 3:00 am headed to Pensacola, not expecting Jerry to be alive when we got there. When we arrived at Sacred Heart, Jerry was on a breathing machine and had already had surgery on his neck and spinal cord, his internal injuries and his right arm. The doctors were all doom and gloom when they talked to us.
Tracy and I slept in the SICU waiting room and after 3 days we so badly needed our hair washed and a shower. The social worker told us about Martha’s Vineyard. It was a house a couple of miles from the hospital that was run by a husband and wife for families far from home with a loved one in the hospital. That description was not even close!! I really didn’t want to leave the hospital but my daughter told me that if I was going to stay in Pensacola (and we knew that it was going to be a long stay) that we should check it out.
I called Martha’s Vineyard that afternoon and Tracy and I went there to see what it was about. I stayed at Martha’s Vineyard from that day, October 2, 2013 until I left last Friday, December 6, 2013. Martha’s Vineyard is not just a house. It is a beautiful home and Marty and Dennis Tackett aren’t just a married couple living there. They were my angels on earth. I talked to my daughter everyday and she held me up but Marty and Dennis and their home were also there for me everyday. I had a clean bed to sleep in. I had a clean bathroom and all the food that I could eat. They listened to mine and Jerry’s problems and triumphs every night and every morning over coffee or supper. They became my friends and now they are like family. When my car was in the shop for two weeks, Marty carried me back and forth in her car. My car was suppose to be ready three days before Thanksgiving. It wasn’t ready the day before Thanksgiving and Marty MADE me take her personal car and go home for Thanksgiving. I saw Marty be the Taxi for other people staying there that didn’t have transportation. Dennis was always asking if there was anything that they could do for me or anything that I needed. I had everything that I needed and more.
Jerry checked out of the nursing home in Pensacola today, October 11 and went to live with his girlfriend in Foley. He is walking. He is eating with his left hand. All of his organs are working great. He will need surgery on his eyes and Marty told me to check with them if I come down for the surgery and maybe they will have a room. You can bet that if I go back to Pensacola anytime, I will see my family Marty and Dennis Tackett. Without them and Martha’s Vineyard, I don’t know how I would have been able to be there with Jerry through everything.
GOD is GREAT!! He let me keep my son and he healed my son and he kept me well and sane. He also gave me Martha’s Vineyard and Marty and Dennis Tackett and for all of this I am gratefull. God is with you my friends in your quest to care for people like Jerry, Tracy and I. I Love You Both, Neva
In 2016, I called Marty and ask if there was a room for a repeat guest. The answer was yes and I was delighted. This visit lasted for about two months. Every kind of help, encouragement and spiritual uplifting was still there. Not only is a Martha’s Vineyard a home away from home, but it was amazing to see the guests worry and give encouragement to the other guests despite what they and their loved ones are going through. I still keep in touch with some of the people I met during my stay. We don’t have enough room for me to say everything that is in heart about the Tacketts and the work they are doing here on earth for the Lord. May God Bless Marty and Dennis and their guests. -Becky Williams
I was a mother with a son that was far away from home serving our country. He was about to have surgery and I had no place to stay. Not going was not an option and even if I had to sleep in the car I was going to be there. When I say that Martha’s Vineyard, Marty and Dennis were a BLESSING, that’s an understatement. They not only took our family in, they became family. There only concern was that my son get well and our family was taken care of. What an awesome mission they have been given and they have embraced it with love, compassion and commitment.
Our lives have been forever changed because we encountered real LOVE! Blessing, Victor & Cherita Andrews Grateful Parents of Victor Lee Andrews, US Navy