Ray Meier is in his 23rd year of volunteering with Habitat. He joined through his church, St. Andrews, and is part of the regular St. Andrews crew. He joined in 1995 with them and in 1996 he helped start the 3Mgives regular crew. Ray is one of the few founding 3Mgives regular crew members left that still volunteers and it doesn’t look like he’s stopping anytime soon.
Ray started to volunteer with Habitat because of his love for building and continues to support Habitat because of his passion to build and is motivated by Habitat’s mission. He had some pretty good stories about his volunteer years with us and especially some amusing ones during the early years when there were not as many safety rules. He explained that prior to scaffolding, if a ladder was not tall enough to reach a certain area then they would put a pallet on a fork lift which would raise the two guys on the pallet to the higher spot to get the work done. He had a few stories about leaning against walls and falling through, leveling a wall with couple of car jacks, and other interesting rehab stories.
Ray can definitely pin point some of his favorite memories. One was starting the 3Mgives regular crew and being involved in the process of recruiting people and seeing the group grow.
“When we set up 3Mgives [Crew] there were three things that the 3M guys learned real quick. Build it as if you’re going to move into it. When you’re on site, you’re there to do the work and teach those who are out there to learn. And finally, you must have a good time or you won’t return."
One of his other favorite memories was being the house leader of the faith house during the Twin Cities Carter Work Project and meeting Jimmy Carter. Dave Engh, another longtime volunteer, and him got to show the former president the house and the progress they were making. “Mr. Carter wanted to go and see the house inside. So we took him in and he asked, “Why do you have these big walls? Six inch walls?” I said, “Well Mr. Carter, why don’t you come back in January and you’ll know.” Ray said that Jimmy Carter just wanted to stay and talk the whole time and he really enjoyed that moment.
Working alongside of the homeowners is something Ray enjoys and he really enjoys seeing the children. Ray explained a story about how one homeowner they were working with would cook the best egg rolls every Friday as a thank you for the crew. If there were extra egg rolls then they always managed to make it back in to people’s cars.
Ray loves the work he is doing and is glad to have been part of Habitat for so long. He has been able to see the staff grow, the programs grow, and also the amount of families we can help grow. We’re very thankful Ray can be a part of not just one regular crew, but two and enjoys every moment of it.