Susan has long been involved with her community in one way or another. Whether it’s volunteering with her church, Girl Scouts, or teaching preschool and kindergarten, she likes to give back and stay busy.
Several members of Susan’s church, Centennial United Methodist Church, had been volunteering with Holy Hammers for years. In 2000, Susan started baking cookies to bring to the build sites. After a while, she thought to herself, “I could do more than bake cookies.” She volunteered on a house build for one day, then just kept coming back. During the Holy Hammers build, she worked more than 15 days on the project. In 2015, Regular Crew member Jack Griffin suggested that she join the Regular Crew Bud’s Bunch, and she’s been with them ever since.
Working with the Holy Hammers crew was a lot of fun for Susan since she already knew all the members from church. Her onsite build experience was an opportunity to meet and form new friendships with some of the men from church, whom she previously didn’t have many overlapping volunteer experiences with. Most of her previous volunteer work at the church was engaging with women.
Susan has had a similar experience with Bud’s Bunch. There’s one other woman on the crew, but there’s a distinctly different feel to their interactions than in all-women groups, and she’s really enjoyed the conversations she’s had. “[Bud's Bunch leader] Ron Kuhn puts everything together. It’s really a pleasure to work with these guys. They’re patient and kind and very helpful. It’s really easy to be involved in that group.”
Prior to her time with Habitat, Susan had had some building experience, but becoming a regular volunteer has given her the chance to learn new skills, like using the power saw. She’s comfortable with most of the tools on site now, and sometimes teaches others how to use them.
Some of the things Susan has valued about her time as a Regular Crew member have been getting to work at different sites with new site supervisors as well as AmeriCorps service members. She has also enjoyed getting to know the site supervisors and meeting the families who purchase Habitat homes. One memory that stuck out to her was the son of a homebuyer running up excitedly and saying “This is gonna be my bedroom!”
Making friends and learning new skills and information are both things any volunteer can expect out of their Habitat experience. Susan learned just how much effort goes into capping a house. She was also amazed to learn, while working at the panel plant, that walls for the first and second floors are built there, then put on a pallet and transported to the build site!
Susan also discovered her favorite building projects. She loves hanging drywall and finds it very satisfying. She also enjoys caulking and laying down laminate flooring. There’s something at a build site for everyone.
After all her experience volunteering for Habitat, Susan highly recommends others consider it. “I would say do it. Particularly to women. I’d like to see more women involved in Habitat. Women Build days are great. It’s satisfying, it’s humbling, all those things, and you learn a few things, too.”