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Building Community Blog

Guest Blog by Noah Keller
Twin Cities Habitat Staff

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) is excited to announce two Global Village build trips in 2018! TCHFH staff will lead teams of approximately 20 volunteers to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua:

Dominican Republic: February 3-11, 2018

Nicaragua: March 10-18, 2018

Registration is now open for these opportunities; please contact me at noah.keller@tchabitat.org for more information!

Long-time volunteer, Bruce Moulton and the “EpiscoBuilders” have been volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for over twenty years. Not only do they help build homes to support affordable housing, but Bruce also builds tiny homes… for the birds! Each home that the EpiscoBuilders help build, the Habitat homeowners also receive a birdhouse built by Bruce.

We are very excited to announce two new ways to volunteer with Twin Cities Habitat! One of these roles was developed to assist families that are interested in our programs and services, and the other is part of a pilot program we're launching to support our new Age in Place (AIP) work. Read about these new roles below and be sure to express interest if you're willing to lend a hand!

Dave Engh is a long-term volunteer who has been with Habitat since 1993 and has gotten involved in many different ways. Dave is the current crew leader for our St. Andrews volunteers, and he's regularly out on site with The 3Mgives Habitat Project. He also repairs Habitat tools at our warehouse, which saves a lot of time and money. One of Dave's favorite volunteer roles is serving as a Neighborhood Family Partner for many families. In this role, Dave gets to see the homeowners after they are living in their new home and gets to check-in with them on a regular basis.

It’s the look in their eyes that gives them away and on which I hone every Wednesday at whatever Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity site I’m working. I can shake my head in faux understanding with the best of them. But for self-preservation, I look for the heads that aren’t shaking and for confidence that registers only through the eyes.

With little more than his truck, camper, and a well-stocked toolbelt, Darrell Gilmore (@H4Hnomad on Twitter) has an audacious goal: to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in every state within one year, making him the first to do so. And he’s well on his way. In fact, when we welcomed him to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity this week, Minnesota became state number 36.

Bill Norquist is a long-term volunteer who started volunteering with Habitat in 1989! Bill is an avid advocate for Habitat and has been spreading our mission for many years.  He started off volunteering with his church, All Saints Lutheran, and played a big role in getting people to volunteer with Habitat. He remembers the first few years when they started at Habitat the work day was done when they ran out of materials or when there was no more work they could do; the days were a lot shorter back then.  

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.

We gather around 8:30 a.m. each morning, holding our coffee cups and waiting our turn at a piece of tape, where we scribble our first names and attach it to our shirts. For most, this is a meaningless exercise because they are members of a tribe — whether it is a church group, or employees of local businesses and government agencies, or a prison crew from Lino Lakes. I’m a tribe of one. I showed up one day at a Habitat site in Saint Paul, met Habitat Supervisor Dave Madzo and, as he put it recently, “just wouldn’t go away.” I write my name out anyway to help answer queries about who I am and what I am doing there. “I help Dave on Wednesdays, “ I always say. “I’m a volunteer just like you.”

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