In 1997, Sharon Adams felt a call. After 30 years away from her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she moved back into the house where she grew up. As Sharon was fixing up her family home, she needed an electrician. That’s when she met her now-husband, Larry Adams.

They’ve since completed several projects around the house, but the couple’s biggest undertaking came when they turned to the area outside of their home.

Inspired by Sharon’s memories of her once close-knit community, they established Walnut Way, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing their neighborhood.In the two decades since, they’ve built and restored more than 100 homes and transformed over 20 lots into gardens and orchards.


At StoryCorps, they remembered how as their relationship grew, so did their involvement in the community.

Top Photo: Sharon and Larry Adams in the house where their nonprofit, Walnut Way, is based. Photo by Adam Carr.
Bottom Photo: Sharon and Larry Adams in front of their peach trees. Photo by Sara Stathas.

Originally aired February 15, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.