Volunteer Spotlight

The Volunteer Spotlight is here to honor those who have gone above and beyond for Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio!  Thank you to each and every individual and group listed below for your amazing dedication and support of Habitat MidOhio.  We are a better organization because of you!

Habitat wants to shine a special light of thanks on… Richard Kipp!    


                                                  

Richard Kipp – Construction Volunteer

Richard’s journey with Habitat started in 1994 at the Knox County affiliate in Mount Vernon, Ohio. While the situation was less than ideal, “My older son left college under unpleasant circumstances at the end of his freshman year, and was required to complete some community service as a consequence of his actions,” this meeting had a big impact on both Richard and his son. “…As luck would have it, a flyer was passed around noting the founding by President Clinton of a national service program to be called AmeriCorps. People accepted into AmeriCorps could apply to work with various organizations that sought volunteers, and Habitat was one of these. My son applied, was accepted, and spent two years working with (Habitat for Humanity), one in Miami and a second in Cleveland, before returning to college.” Upon returning to college, Richard’s son became a Dean’s List student, as well as captain of his soccer team, and went on to graduation with honors. Richard was also inspired to get involved, and began volunteering on construction sites regularly and serving on the board of the Knox County affiliate.

Prior to Habitat, Richard had been involved in several other volunteer activities. In the early 1980s, when Richard’s wife, Rita, a professor at Kenyon College, took on the role of breadwinner, Richard took on the role of a house spouse and primary parent. During this time, he first started volunteering as a soccer coach for a new program sponsored by the YMCA, an activity he continued for two decades. Two years after he started coaching, he joined the board of Knox County Head Start, followed by volunteer work for New Directions, a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse in Mount Vernon.

In the spring of 1998, Richard signed up for a week-long blitz build near Americus, GA, home to the operational headquarters of Habitat for Humanity. Known as “The Easter Build,” it was a project for which around 600 volunteers came together to build 26 new homes, while staying in dorms, vacated by students on spring break, at a nearby college. “What an incredible week! I recall that when I woke up the second morning, having spent the previous day framing the house all day with hammer and nail, my hands were so stiff I could hardly move my fingers. Somehow, things improved so that by the time we had finished breakfast, I could once again hold onto a tool.”

Since retiring in 2010, Richard has been a regular volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. Before moving to Granville nearly two nearly ago, Richard lived in Freehold, New Jersey, where he volunteered at build sites three days a week, and he has since been able to resume the same kind of schedule here at Habitat MidOhio.

“I think that many folks approaching retirement these days worry about that transition: What will I do? How will I keep busy? I’ve found that my three days a week with Habitat is just the right amount of time to keep me busy while giving me ample opportunity to do other things I think also important.”

When asked why he continues to volunteer with Habitat and considers it a meaningful use of his time, Richard said it gives him a chance to pay forward the good luck he’s had in his life, while working alongside like-minded individuals, who also find it personally rewarding to lend a hand to those who need it.

 

Check out our previously honored volunteers!

Volunteer Spotlight - Habitat