What are you doing next Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday?
Those are the days that individual volunteers and groups work on Habitat for Humanity construction projects. Most of the Wednesday and Thursday volunteers, and some of the Saturday ones, come out every single week to help us build. They are our “Weekly Warriors.” They strap on their helmets (hard hats) and fight the good fight, from the trenches (digging the foundation footings) to the ramparts (installing roof trusses and sheathing). They come out in any weather, take on any task that needs to be done, and share their considerable wit and wisdom with Habitat homeowners and staff. They are the unsung heroes of the battle to increase the stock of safe, decent and affordable housing in the Cape Fear region.
You might wonder: what kind of people would work for free in the heat of summer and the cold of winter to build someone else a house? I did, too, so I asked some of our regulars to tell me a little about themselves and their experiences volunteering with Habitat. Some of them became construction regulars as recently as 2014, while others have been giving their time for more than a decade. One has been volunteering on site for 17 years. We have a lawyer and an electrician, a nurse and a long haul trucker, a consultant and a law enforcement officer, a contractor and program chief at the CDC, and a whole assortment of other professions from every walk of life. Building a Habitat house isn’t exactly rocket science, but if it was … we’ve got an aerospace engineer on board to help!
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that our Weekly Warriors don’t limit their community service to Habitat. Among the other organizations they assist: Boys & Girls Clubs, Cape Fear Literacy Council, Cape Fear River Watch, Heart Walk, New Hanover County Arboretum, Rotary, Tileston Outreach Food Bank, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, Work on Wilmington, and dozens of local churches. Quite a few have worked for Habitat affiliates in other locations, too, including Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan and New Jersey – not to mention El Salvador.
The only compensation that our Weekly Warriors receive is the knowledge that they help hard-working families become first-time buyers of affordable homes – that and the on-site meal and snacks. Lunch might be prepared by other volunteers, donated by a local restaurant or caterer, or purchased by a house sponsor. Some of the favorites among the regulars are Mexican food, pizza and Italian, sloppy joes, homemade macaroni and cheese, and Subway. But the hands-down, most appreciated lunch is Construction Manager Esmond Anderson’s wild-caught grilled venison (in season only)!
One of the best parts about being a Weekly Warrior is the opportunity to see a house through from ground-breaking to dedication, and to get to know the future homeowner along the way. Here are a few comments from our regulars about the homeowners:
Christina Haley O'Neal - Jul 31, 2020
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