Delta Air Lines employees gathered in Chaska to kickoff the construction of the 216th home in partnership with Habitat on Monday, September 14. Executives from Delta and Habitat spoke at the event, but the highlight of the ceremony was when Etienne (Steven, in English) Zewou, the future homeowner, was introduced.
Steven will be living the in the home with his wife Afi and their one-year-old daughter. The couple is expecting another baby in about four months and hope to move into the home in the spring of 2016. They are already putting in the 400 hours of sweat equity they are required to complete as part of qualifying for the home. Steven was introduced with his favorite quote from Ghandi, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others."
"We are fortunate to have a committed partner supporting our mission to eliminate poverty housing in the Twin Cities," said Habitat Chief Operations Officer, Mary Schumacher, as she addressed the gathering. "Without companies like Delta, and volunteers like all of you, we couldn't do what we do."
This will be the 19th home Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has built in the Southwest Metro over the past 15 years, seven of them built by Delta. Most of the airline's employees at the site were first-time volunteers, with just enough multi-year volunteers in attendance to make supervising the teams easier for Habitat personnel. (See #deltagreatergood for more).
This year, Delta will build a total of seven homes across six cities as part of its domestic build. Delta employees have also helped build or rehab homes in 11 countries around the world. In 2014, more than 2,300 employees volunteered their time and talent to help build the homes. Here in the Twin Cities, volunteers from California, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and several other states flew in to help with the local build.