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 to and support of Habitat MidOhio. We are a better organization because of you!
Habitat wants to shine a special light of thanks on our 41 dedicated volunteers who have received a President's Lifetime Achievement Award!
President's Lifetime Achievement Award
To qualify for The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, volunteers must contribute at least 4,000 hours of service during their lifetime. Those Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include: Terry Baughman, Howard Baulch, Vince Bednar, Dave Bezaire, Mike Bloomfield, Rea Buchanan, Allan Burkman, Ken & Sue Crawford, Bill Darlage, Jim Dupriest, John Fisher, Joe Foley, Ben Freudenreich, Steve Gutgesell, Larry Hutchison, Tim Kolodziej, Dale Krummen, Bob Lentz, Dick Litfin, Evy Locklin, George Lybarger. Jim Meeth, Barb Metz, Jerry Minturn, Greg Myers, Dave Norman Tom Oswald, Helen Pestel, Tim Richardson, Jim Rosing, Greg Schmidt, Dave Seifert, Greg Smith, Don Spoelker, Terry Stohr, Doug Teske, Dick Troendly, Craig Vette, Jim Whitmer, and Dave Zuehlke.
We are humbled and incredibly grateful for their contributions in helping shape the affiliate to where it is today!
Previous Volunteer Spotlights
Aila Gomi first became aware of habitat as an organization in high school, but didn’t really get involved till this year! Over this year, she has been an incredible addition to our volunteer team! Aila volunteers on our evening crews, as well as in the ReStore. As part of her 2022 resolutions, she set herself the goal to volunteer with habitat at least once a month! Aila was always impressed with Habitat’s mission, but she did not fully understand the impact Habitat could have until she bought her own house and learned more about the home buying process and all the challenges that come along with it! Her favorite part of volunteering with Habitat is getting to learn new skills! During her most recent volunteer shift she learned how to caulk for the first time. Although painting is her favorite part of a house project!
Outside of Habitat, Aila also volunteers with animal shelters, food pantries, and Alvis. Her first experience as a volunteer was taking part in Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in Mississippi. She is also part of the US Japan Council (USJC) Outreach and Allyship subcommittee where she coordinates programming to help other members within USJC learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion! Also, she is currently training for a triathlon at the end of July! She also loves to crochet and make adorable characters!
Aila has learned so much through volunteering. Her most memorable accomplishment was getting to be a part of the last volunteer shift for a home and getting to see it completed. Words of wisdom she would like to share with future volunteers is “DO IT! It is so much fun and you will meet some amazing people.”
Ray Stankunas first heard about Habitat for Humanity through a friend. He began volunteering in Canton, Ohio. He was immediately impressed by Habitat’s mission to provide housing, but also the actual steps in place to ensure partner families will be successful long-term homeowners. Ray has now been a valuable member of our Licking County Regulars crew since 2014. Ray has always been a “do-it-yourselfer”, but through his time volunteering, he has become a knowledgeable person in every aspect of remodeling and home building. He credits that to the hands-on experience of volunteering and learning from fellow regular volunteers.
Before Habitat, Ray was involved with various professional organizations, church ministries, and Red Cross Disaster Response. Outside of Habitat, Ray is involved with the Knights of Columbus at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Grandville. He is also a member of the Helping Hands ministry where he does even more repair work for those in the community. Ray’s hobbies include bicycling, tennis, snow skiing, and turning wooden bowls! Ray also loves fishing and this past summer he traveled up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota for a week-long fishing trip with friends! Also, Ray just celebrated his 53rd Wedding Anniversary in September with his loving wife, Cindy.
Ray’s favorite memory of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity has been watching the transformation of first-time volunteers, many of which have never handled tools, progress throughout the day from beginners to confident “do-it-yourselfers”. Advice he gives to new volunteers is “Don’t be overly concerned about lack of hands-on-experience, jump in enthusiastically, there is always somebody nearby to help share the load.”
Through volunteering, Ray has been able to contribute to the dreams of new homeowners and also has been able to build relationships with fellow volunteers. Ray sees volunteering with Habitat as a way to give back for blessings received.
Brandon Reese is one of the newer board members of Habitat Young Professionals (HYP). He has been working on the board for the past year, but Brandon’s first-time volunteering with Habitat MidOhio was in 2013 on MLK day when he volunteered in the ReStore. Since his time on the board, Brandon has been working towards involving more young people and community members to engage with issues revolving around affordable housing. He developed a HYP program called “Leader Lessons” where people can come together to learn from leaders in their respective field, network, and find ways to advocate for affordable housing in Central Ohio. These events have highlighted leaders in architecture, interior design, marketing and more! This summer, Brandon has also been organizing HYP’s first “Putts and Pints” event where you can grab a putter and visit different breweries and eateries in the Italian village and putt putt in support of affordable housing! All proceeds for event sign-up will go towards fundraising for Habitat home builds, repairs, and other affordable housing efforts.
In addition to all this incredible work on the HYP board, Brandon also takes part in the Constructing Hope program at his company, Danis Building Construction Company. As part of this program, he volunteers with the Huckleberry House, the Ronald McDonald House, and A Kid Again. He has also volunteered through his fraternities’ alumni group, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and through his church. Brandon states how he volunteers in order to stay connected to his community. He sees the great need for affordable housing in Central Ohio and wants to do his part in solving the issue. Brandon also loves reading and is trying to read at least one book a month! He also sketches, draws, and lately (thanks to his wife) has taken up painting. He is passionate about health and wellness and takes part in both the Cap City Half Marathon and the Nationwide Half Marathon. He also is a lover of the OSU Buckeyes, bourbon, and wine! A fun fact about Brandon is that in High School he played football against and Braxton Miller!
Brandon’s favorite memory of volunteering was taking part in our Playhouse Project. He worked with other members of HYP to construct a playhouse for a family in the community. He loved working with other motivated and passionate volunteers and after all the hard work getting to see the children see their playhouse for the first time made it all worth it! Brandon remarks how the best part of working with Habitat is that you get to see the tangible results of your hard work. With Habitat you are building homes that will benefit families and neighborhoods for years to come. His advice to other volunteers is, “don’t hesitate to get involved even if you have no prior experience! There are good people on these builds and projects who can teach you. The reward is two-fold. You get to learn a new skill and impact someone’s life.”
Constance Rivera first got involved with Habitat MidOhio 5 years ago, working on repair projects one summer. This was her first experience using a circular saw in order to remove an old porch floor. Constance remembers how Tom, our repair lead, was a great teacher and very encouraging! Since then, Constance has been an extremely active member in our Women Build program. Many years ago, back in the 60’s, Constance wanted to take Shop in school, but girls were only allowed to take Home Economics. To this day, Constance still wished she could have taken Shop class. She finally got her chance with Women Build! She remarks how Chris, the Women Build leader, is a wonderful teacher, and very patient. She has learned so much, and especially enjoys the framing: watching a house grow from a hole in the ground, to a house! She loves seeing a tangible accomplishment at the end of the day. Being a part of the program, she got to meet a lot of other women, and treasures the friendships she has made.
Before Habitat, Constance volunteered for Community Refugee and Immigration Services, assisting in the ESL classes, where she met delightful people from Nepal, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and several other countries. She also had a language partner from Turkey, through Worthington Interfaith Neighbors who remains friends with to this day. Constance and her daughter volunteer through CRIS on a Welcome Team, helping a family of 7 to resettle after escaping from Afghanistan. Their team set up an apartment before they arrived, and they continue to help, mainly with English lessons. She even learned a little Dari, which is one of their native languages. Constance also enjoys weaving, spinning, knitting, lacemaking; and ballroom dancing with her husband Jose, who has been a dance teacher for almost 50 years!
Her favorite memories with Habitat include one cold day where the future homeowner, Faiza, brought the volunteers hot Somali tea and oatmeal to keep them warm. Constance loves volunteering with Habitat because she knows that she is helping to provide families a safe, warm, and affordable shelter they can call home.
This month, we are honored to highlight Dan Moorhead, a veteran and valued member of the volunteer group, the Tuesday/Thursday crew! Before volunteering with Habitat for Humanity MidOhio, Dan spent 28 years with the U.S. Army. He did 4 years of active duty and 24 years in the Ohio National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. Dan has been volunteering with us continuously since 2010, and has contributed to 76 different build projects and counting! When Dan started volunteering, he did not have much building experience and soon learned that construction is wonderful, but also a challenging experience. He credits the amazingly patient house leads and exceptional volunteers who taught him while on-site and answered all of his questions! Learning construction skills was something he never had the opportunity to do in his younger days, but now is something he is proud to have accomplished.
One of Dan’s most memorable memories at Habitat MidOhio was volunteering with the Tuesday/Thursday crew on a house in the Linden neighborhood. “We were on that house just about continually from the beginning to the finish. We got to know the homeowner who worked with us just about every week.” This is just one of the many families that Dan has contributed his time to building part of their home. Dan remarked on how he has grown as a volunteer, “I think I am a more patient person; I enjoy doing a task well. I have a better understanding of how difficult life can be for some.” He remarks how spending his time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity has been one of the most meaningful highlights of his retired life.
Outside of Habitat for Humanity, Dan is a member of NW Kiwanis. He manages the soccer field in the Fall and Spring for about 6 Sundays each season, drives a van during the Memorial Golf tournament, and donates to the organization! He loves to play tennis 3-4 times a week, going to the gym, reading history or crime/spy fiction, managing investments, snow skiing, and traveling! In fact, this past January, Dan and his family were able to visit his son and grandkids in Sydney, Australia. A fun fact you might not know about Dan is that he met his wife, who is Filipino, while they were both working in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s!
Words of wisdom he has to share with other Habitat volunteers are “House construction is hard work! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek help, and ask to be trained.”
Tom Kirwin first became involved with Habitat for Humanity through the affiliate in Orange County, California- where he first volunteered over 20 years ago. Once he moved back to Ohio, he noticed a Habitat MidOhio volunteer listing, and the next week he was on a house build. He has remained volunteering with us for 3 years both on builds and through photography. His pictures are highlighted all the time in our outreach to celebrate our volunteers, partner families, and spread the mission of Habitat. Tom finds that “my most valuable contribution is capturing images of volunteers working and… the ultimate dedication of the houses. Each night when I process the frames I have shot; my reward comes in the belief that many of those shots will be memorable for both the volunteers and the families who end up living in these houses.” Every picture that Tom has captured has shown his dedication to our mission and documented the dedication of fellow volunteers and the joy of homeownership for our partner families.
Tom recognizes the way volunteering can allow you to meet new people and grow as an individual. He remarks how “habitat has a wide diversity of volunteers and clients, many of them from distant countries and different belief systems. This has given me an opportunity to appreciate very different lifestyles and views of the world, allowing me to broaden my understanding of the world.”
Tom has been a photographer for over 20 years and Habitat is not the only organization he has captured moments for. He volunteers his time to a wide variety of organizations and charitable events. He was trained as an off-trail and overnight leader for the Sierra Club and regularly helps others appreciate and conserve our outdoor spaces. He loves hiking and backpacking, making treks of up to 100 miles. He is also a huge movie buff and will see 100 films in theaters every year! Not to mention, he was a competitive skydiver and instructor for 23 years. He has participated in 5 world records and has a handful of competitive metals up to the national level!
With so many interesting hobbies and accomplishments, Tom is truly an incredible volunteer to learn from. Words of wisdom he would like to share with future volunteers are “As with most things in life, the most important thing is to show up”.
Mark Cohen is a North Linden resident and while chatting with the North Linden Area Commission, he learned about Habitat for Humanity and the mission. Mark was intrigued and checked out the website. He started out helping on the sites of the Northside Partnership with crew lead, Bob Lentz. He was then introduced to other crews and crew leads. He began volunteering with a variety of groups in the North Linden area and hasn’t stopped for the past 3 years. As a construction volunteer, Mark has been able to learn how to properly use tools while helping his neighborhood. He’s been using his new skills to remodel his own kitchen.
Mark enjoys “getting to watch the job come to completion from bottom to top.” He’s been able to become a well-rounded volunteer with skills in a phases of construction. Having been a public employee for many years, volunteering with Habitat allows him to still give back to the community. Mark was a plan reviewer with the City of Columbus. Outside of Habitat, Mark enjoys working on the remodel of his kitchen, bike riding, water aerobics, and working out. He also volunteers with Food Rescue.
Mark suggests that anybody interested in volunteering should “sign up. It’s worth it.” We agree and hope Mark continues to be a regular presence in the Linden area!
Fred Kierner first came to Habitat through his church in 1996. After retiring in 2019, Fred joined a couple of church friends as regular volunteers. He was welcomed into the Tuesday/Thursday crew and has been there since. As a volunteer, Fred has been able to do things he never thought he could. He has done everything onsite from framing to building a storage system in an affiliate truck. Fred is very proud of his work on that system. Fred fondly remembers being able to have some tea from partner family’s and sit down to talk with them. He very much enjoys getting to work alongside the future homeowners. Fred enjoys that he has been able to grow in his construction skills, especially flooring.
Fred has also gotten involved with The Playhouse Project as a captain. “Watching the smiles on the little kids warms your heart.” Fred has given a lot of time to Habitat since retiring. He sees it as a good use of time because he is able to help others that may be less fortunate than him and is able to build friendships with other volunteers. He and the rest of the crew are able to talk about all kinds of things while working. Fred remarked on how appreciated by Habitat he felt. “The fact that I volunteer here feels like it means something.”
Prior to Habitat, Fred was a regular volunteer with his church, St. Brendan’s, and volunteered with the Boy Scouts while his sons were involved. Fred is an avid wood worker and golfer. He and his wife very much enjoy travelling with a close pair of friends. Two of his favorite trips have included a cruise through the Panama Canal and several cruise in Alaska. He and his wife have 5 grandchildren. In his lifetime, Fred has had 3 different career paths: he spent 20 years in the military, spent 15 years in real estate, and went back to school at age 57 to become a nurse.
Fred suggests to “just volunteer, you’ll be welcome. You don’t need to know hardly anything, just be willing to do what is best.” Thank you for spending your time at Habitat, Fred!
Terry Stohr first learned about Habitat when he volunteered with Ascension Lutheran Church about 15 years ago. He has continued to volunteer and has made many friends that he enjoys working with. Even when he first started volunteering, Terry knew that “Habitat was a worthwhile organization where you can work, learn and still have fun.” He is able to learn skills that help in the repair and upkeep of his own home while being able to help provide affordable housing for those in need. Terry enjoys the dedication ceremonies. He shared a particular memory of the small children excitedly picking out their rooms and talking about plans to decorate. They were excited to have their own rooms.
Outside of Habitat, Terry is very involved. He has volunteered with several Christmas in April projects. Terry is an active member of the Central Ohio Orchid Society. He is very involved in his church and Boy Scouts. He has been involved with Boy Scout for 50 years! He also enjoys gardening, fishing and traveling. Terry especially loves to cruise.
Terry’s wisdom for future volunteers is to “keep coming back, don’t give up.” We are so glad that Terry keeps coming back!
Kirk Fisher worked in video production for 20 years, then spent 20 years with the City of Dublin Recreation in customer service, software support, theater and marketing/ public relations. After retiring in 2019, he was looking for ways to volunteer and saw that Habitat MidOhio was looking for photographers. “As an avid life-long photographer, this fit me perfectly. All I needed was a hard hat and goggles and I was ready to go!” Kirk wasted no time and became a consistent photographer with us. He especially enjoys the ceremonies. We have a ceremony for each partner family at the beginning and end of each home building process and love having photographer like Kirk there to capture these exciting moments. Volunteering has allowed him to become more outgoing and curious. It also has helped expand his circle of acquaintances. Kirk’s advice for those looking to get involved is to “dress for the weather and be prepared to get muddy!”
Outside of Habitat, Kirk is a substitute reader for VoiceCorps, a radio/online service for the visually impaired, a volunteer for Canine Companions as a photographer/videographer and event support, and for Community Refugee and Immigration Services and US Together, assisting in helping client’s study for the citizenship test and to achieve job readiness and financial literacy. He has also spent many years as a member of the Harmony Project, a community choir and service organization. When not volunteering, Kirk enjoys music, cooking, reading and travelling. He also recently started taking guitar lessons and is exploring how to play the cajon and cajita, Afro-Peruvian percussion instruments. A fun fact about Kirk is that he started off college as a music major but didn’t want it to become work since he enjoyed it so much. Kirk and his wife recently bought a condo in Atlanta so they can visit their daughter, son-in-law, and 4 grandkids.
Thank you, Kirk, for helping capture pictures and for supporting Habitat’s mission!
Shortly after retiring from American Electric Power (AEP) in 2010, Ron McCrea and his son Kyle decided to try volunteering at Habitat. They did some donation pick-ups for the ReStore. Ron continued to do this for a year and a half and was able to get to know Columbus neighborhoods better. Ron then started working on the home builds and eventually found the AEP Retiree group with whom he has been volunteering since. Once he started volunteering with Habitat, it became clear that there were a lot of motivated people involved and that they came from a wide range of areas of Columbus.
Before volunteering with Habitat, Ron had a very interesting and rewarding career applying computer technology to operation and management of the power grid at AEP. Between that job and family, he didn’t have much time for service, but is certainly making up for lost time now. His time as a volunteer provided many memorable experiences. “We were given access to a recently abandoned apartment building to look for usable appliances. Just seeing the condition of some of the units and realizing how people, especially small children, had lived in them was very eye-opening and almost heartbreaking. In the home builds, I enjoy opportunities to get to know the owner families and see their anticipation toward moving into their own home.” The most memorable experience though is when the family receives the keys to their new home. He also enjoys the satisfaction at the end of the day when the roof trusses get set.
Ron has always been a “do-it-yourselfer” who “often takes the fastest, easiest way to get a job done – you know, a lot of duct tape.” Working on Habitat homes has taught him to get the right tools, plan the job and do it right. “But I still find uses for duct tape.” In addition to learning these skills, Ron is able to have a meaningful way to get out of the house, keep active, and socialize with others.
Outside of Habitat, Ron really enjoys spending time with family and watching his six grandkids grow up. He and his wife, Chris, love to vacation at the beach with a many family members as they can get to go. Ron is also an avid golfer and plays in a couple of leagues. He goes on golf trips several times a year. He enjoys bicycling as well. As an OSU grad, Ron loves to watch Buckeye football and basketball. He also is his family’s unofficial historian and complies ancestry research regarding heritage. Ron volunteers with Westerville Area Resource Ministry several times a week picking up donation and regularly donates platelets to the Red Cross.
Ron has plenty of advice for future volunteers. “Don’t hesitate to jump in and try tasks that you’ve never done. Listen carefully to instructions from your team lead, and make sure you understand the objective of your task before starting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer suggestions. Safety should always be your first priority – the tools we use, including ladders, can be dangerous.”
Thank you Ron for the past several years of service! We look forward to many more!
Dick Troendly first got involved in Habitat through him and his wife’s church, Centenary United Methodist Church. He and other member of the church volunteered for Licking County Habitat, which has since merged into Habitat MidOhio. When he started, he knew nothing about Habitat. “I was impressed that these people would volunteer so much of their time to build homes for families that we did not know.” Dick spent many years as a power lineman for Frontier Power Co. and later moved to United Utility Supply Coop. where he spent 40 years before retiring. In 2011.
Dick has always enjoyed building and construction so he felt that volunteering with Habitat would be a good use of his time after retiring. “I looked forward to learning new skills building new homes and remodeling old homes.” He is able to learn many new skills from the crew leads. While volunteering, Dick has grown an appreciation for all of the different skills that each staff member, AmeriCorps member, and volunteer brings to site. “I have learned so much and each day is different.” Volunteering is able to give Dick satisfaction in work, a way to stay busy, new friendships, and skills that can be used on his own home. He and his wife, Vickie, have done all of the remodeling of their home. They’ve done everything from flooring, laying tile molding, wainscoting, cove molding, to painting. They also have been able to remodel their shed and deck. They even built a small cabin with a loft, porch and solar panels for lighting. Dick’s skills that he learned at Habitat were vital to the success of these projects.
Outside of Habitat and remodeling, Dick and Vickie both like to travel. A big travel highlight for them has been staying at “The Cove” in Asheville, NC. There they are able to participate in biblical lectures and fellowship with others. Dick and Vickie have been married for nearly 58 years and have 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. One think that may surprise you about dick is that he is a cancer survivor since 2010.
“The work skills you learn and use at Habitat will last a lifetime, just know who gave you the gifts to learn your skills.” We are thankful to Dick for sharing his skills with Habitat and are looking forward to many more years!
Tod Powers was looking for something to do while unemployed and found Habitat through his church in 2008. He was able to join in with the Hilliard Adopt-A-House (HAAH) group. Tod hadn’t really volunteered prior to Habitat so he enjoyed growing a relationship with the other volunteers and increasing his construction skills. Tod has many good memories with all the other volunteers. Volunteering has allowed him to become more outgoing. You might be surprised to find out that Tod used to be shy. Habitat is a good use of his time because it “helps others and makes you feel good about what you are doing.”
Outside of Habitat, Tod enjoys cycling, model airplanes, gardening, camping, and wood turning to create bowls. He has a 4 year old grandson that helps keep his life exciting. Tod loves watching him grow up and learn new things.
Tod encourages others to “not be afraid to try stuff. If you make a mistake, it can be redone later.” We hope Tod continues to join the HAAH on site to keep trying new things and appreciate all he’s done so far!
Dan Pugh started volunteering around 13 years ago. After volunteering in a couple of different capacities, Dan ended up on the Thursday Crew working on construction. “I really enjoy working with all the “old farts” who share their spare time helping to build houses for Habitat.” He knows that his time with Habitat is well spent thanks to the appreciation that homeowners have shown him when they work side by side. He has been able to create cutting boards for the partner families that match their countertops. While Dan has many memories of his years with Habitat, one that sticks out the most was the Blitz Build on the Southside of Columbus. “What an amazing Habitat achievement.” Dan’s biggest piece of advice for future volunteers is to “cut once, measure twice.”
Outside of Habitat, Dan is very active in his church, St. Brendans in Hilliard. He works as a handyman for the church and is currently renovating a building into new meeting rooms with fellow parishioners. He also serves food at the Holy Family Soup Kitchen and is an avid bicyclist. Dan is a retired businessman and jeweler. He is also an Air Force Veteran.
“I am always impressed with the effort Habitat puts into making us all feel part of the Habitat family.” We are so glad to have Dan as part of our family and look forward to his continued partnership in building a world where everybody has a decent place to live.
Cynthia Franklin started volunteering with Habitat in 2018 with the Women Build crew. She had known about Habitat for a long time and decided to get involved again once she retired. She had done a little bit of volunteering several years ago, but was unable to commit as much time as she would have liked. Her first impression of Habitat was how awesome it was to be a part of setting up homeowners for long term success. Cynthia has had her hand in the building of 9 different homes in her short time volunteering. She has been able to learn how to do a wide range of tasks and use a multitude of tools. She has been able to apply these skills to her own home.
She treasures her memories with the Women Build Crew. Not only do they regularly volunteer together and help each other on site, they also spend time together off site. “We all went out for lunch and ice cream on a warm summer day. We sat together and talked and laughed.” She is proud of every home she and the Women Build crew have come together to build. Cynthia chooses to volunteer with Habitat to meet new people and to get things done. She is able to work together with others and see amazing progress on the home.
Outside of Habitat, Cynthia is very into sports. She bikes, does weight lifting, and loves to be outside. She hopes to go skydiving and hot air ballooning in the future. She also has volunteered with other organizations like Columbus Literacy Council. She is looking forward to being able to volunteer with MidOhio Foodbank. Cynthia spent over 30 years working with people with special needs. This gave her several opportunities to work on the Special Olympics. Cynthia also loves to spend time with family and friends.
Cynthia’s biggest advice is to “Get involved, especially on the Women Build. Anybody can learn something on site. You can empower yourself and see accomplishments. Don’t be afraid.” We love having Cynthia on our Women Build crew!
Several years ago, Kevin Baxter’s neighbor recruited him to volunteer on an AEP sponsored build and he’s been coming regularly ever since. “I knew of Habitat as an organization, but never really knew what they did or its impact on the families and communities it serves until I actually took part, saw, and most importantly, felt that impact firsthand.” As ac construction volunteer, he gets to see his impact first hand. He enjoys that he gets to work alongside the families and gets to be involved in dedication their home. Habitat is the first organization Kevin has volunteered with and it has definitely impacted him. “In seeing how Habitats mission is carried out and the impact made with each family served and the overall improvement to the community, I have gained a better sense of compassion.” Habitat is a good fit for him as a volunteer since he likes to stay fit and be outside. He also felt very welcomed by the AEP crew from his first day and beyond.
Outside of Habitat, Kevin is kept busy by his job at an engineering and surveying firm and by his wife and two kids. He enjoys golfing with his son, kayaking with his daughter, and evening walks with his wife. He also enjoys playing in fantasy football leagues.
Kevin’s biggest piece of advice is to get involved! “Volunteering helps you connect with other people in and outside your community. It teaches valuable lessons and skills. Most importantly, it gives a sense of fulfillment when you see how your volunteerism impacts a family and their future.” We couldn’t agree more! Thank you Kevin for being such a dedicated Habitat MidOhio volunteer!
Brad Martin started volunteer with AEP after seeing an article in the company newsletter in 2003. When he started there were fewer volunteers, but it was, and continues to be, fun. Through site lead, Jim Rosing, Brad has learned many skills. He also realized that he likes to teach as well. When asked about memories of volunteering, Brad had a list; “Every year meeting new people that want to share their talents. Always trying to cheer up folks, even on a bad day. Always worn out at the end of the day – in a good way. Rain or shine, there was always an accomplishment.” Brad also has several memorable accomplishments as a volunteer. Aside from the group being so fun that every time is memorable, Brad recounted having the honor of putting on the house numbers for the first house and putting them on perfectly level. He also considers having nobody getting hurt on site an accomplishment.
“All your talent means nothing, if you don’t share it” Brad remarked. Volunteering with Habitat is a meaningful use of his time because he is able to teach others how to do something they may remember for a long time. When asked for advice for future volunteers, Brad said “You get out what you put in. If you don’t put forth the effort, you won’t have the appreciation for the finished product or the lives you have impacted.”
Outside of Habitat, Brad has been a part of several United Way commercials and chaired several campaigns; including the Light the Night campaign for Leukemia and Lymphoma and the Heart Fund campaign. He also serves as computer support for several senior citizens. Brad served as co-chair for the Steubenville Regatta for two years and spent three years as a math tutor for the Jefferson County GED program. When not volunteering, Brad enjoys working on home repairs, computers, watching sport, thoroughbred horse racing, boating, water skiing, golf, reading, and researching better ways to accomplish tasks. Brad is looking forward to spending time with family now that he has the COVID vaccine.
Once thing that might surprise you about Brad is that telling him he cannot do something will spur him to prove that he can. This is a great mindset to have on site and Habitat MidOhio is thankful for his continued dedication to our mission!
Brent Kinnan worked as an attorney with a corporate practice for 38 years and retired in 2014. After accomplishing all of the work around the house that was on the “to do” list and doing a little travel, he wanted to do something entirely different with my life. “For most of my adult life my hobby was woodworking and carpentry, so I thought that Habitat for Humanity would be a perfect fit.”
Brent started with the Tuesday/Thursday crew in 2015. “On my first day on the job I was immediately surprised by all of the knowledge possessed by both the house leads (some young enough to be my children) and the veteran volunteers.” Despite his background, Brent could see he had a lot to learn. He decided that the best thing that he could do was to take advantage of this opportunity and learn at least one new skill or technique every day. “After six and a half years, I’m still learning, but there is no judgment on a Habitat site. Everyone just does their best within their background and capability.”
Some of Brent’s best memories are meeting the homeowners that he was are helping. “We have had rehab projects where the homeowners were so grateful that they fed us lunch of pizza or fried chicken. We gutted and rebuilt a fire damaged house for a man who was blind but insisted on working with us shoulder to shoulder. On one new build project I worked with lady who was a tireless worker. Together we installed the floor in the bedroom to be occupied by her young son. And, I even got to meet the son afterwards.”
Finally, the best aspect of being a Habitat volunteer to Brent is the comradery. “You meet a great bunch of guys and gals to call your coworkers and friends.” Thank you for your 6 and a half years of dedication to Habitat!
Joan and Byron Bossenbroek
When Habitat MidOhio built its first home, Joan and Byron Bossenbroek went to the dedication and decided to get their church involved through the Clintonville-Beechwold Partnership. Joan served as chair for the partnership for over 20 years. The partnership was then merged with several others to create the Northside Partnership, which dedicated its most recent home in January 2021. After merging, Joan continued to serve on several committees, including family selection and a committee that helped shape the partner family’s requirements and benefits. She also was tasked with tracking the sweat equity hours for partner families until the task was taken over by staff. Byron is also heavily involved in Habitat. Shortly after Joan got involved, Byron started as a construction volunteer on weekends. Since retiring 19 years ago, Byron started volunteering during the week as well. When Joan and Byron started volunteering, Habitat was almost entirely volunteer run. Volunteers did nearly all phases on the home build. Joan recounted working on drywall and mudding. “We would spend more time sanding somebody else’s mistakes away than mudding.” She suggested that this kind of experience helped lead to Habitat contracting out tasks. From the start, Joan and Byron were impressed with Habitat’s dedication to helping people and quality of work. Joan and Byron talked about how blessed they are. “We can still give back and that is a top priority.” When one of their former churches disbanded, they helped set up a fund to help financially support Habitat to a level that they never could have reached prior.
When asked about a favorite Habitat memory, Byron remembered a time while volunteering at the check in desk of a food pantry. He ran into the homeowner of the home that the Clintonville-Beechwold Partnership helped build in 1991. After nearly 10 years, she told Byron that she was about to make the final payment on her home. “That was a neat experience.” Joan has enjoyed getting to know the people who have been so dedicated to helping others at Habitat. In 1996, as a thank you, Joan received an award and gift from Habitat. The gift was a home shaped cookie jar, which she still has. She also recounted an appreciation of “all of the people of different cultural backgrounds that we became involved with through Habitat.” She reflected on how that helped her grow as a person. “We’ve met a lot of people who had needs but were really strong, determined people. I gained a lot of respect for people who have so many hardships.”
Before volunteering with Habitat, Joan and Byron were very active with their church and their involvement led to getting their church more involved with other organizations. They became active in their church’s emergency relief group, World Renewed” and traveled around the US to help rebuild after natural disasters. They also have three very active children who are also involved in community service. When not volunteering, Joan and Byron are very invested in bird watching. After retiring, they set a goal for themselves: to see half of the species of bird in the world, 5,000 species. They reached that goal in 2018 and now they stand at 5,055 species. They enjoyed a lot of travelling to accomplish this goal. They also enjoy spending time with their children and grandkids. They are looking forward to seeing their grandkids and their journeys through college.
When asked about advice for future volunteers, Byron said to “start early” and Joan followed up with “don’t hesitate. You have to make time for it.” They both remarked how rewarding their time with Habitat has been. “it’s been a real joy. I’m sad that I’m getting older and can’t volunteer like I used to.” We are so grateful for the many years of dedication and support Joan and Byron have given to Habitat MidOhio and look forward to many more years!
In June of 2016, Bob Geoghegan was looking for some activities to fill his retirement time and make use of his skills. He knew some people who were involved with Habitat and thought there were many dedicated and hard-working volunteers. He got involved with our Northwest Adopt-A-House group. He is led by volunteer crew lead John Fisher, who “is an excellent crew lead and knows more about building than I ever hope to.” This year has been tough for the crew since they have been primarily building in the winter months. “Working in a house with 6 inches of snow on the floor was a memory I hope not to have again.” This current home has also had its good sides. Bob normally travels a few weeks throughout the year, but has been unable to due to the pandemic. Because of this Bob has been able to be a part of every phase of building so far and will hopefully be able to continue that.
Outside of Habitat, Bob spends a lot of time maintaining his century-old home as he has since 1986. He worked in engineering for 40 years then volunteered in STEM-related education at various levels, including a month long stint teaching physics at Cristo Rey Columbus High School. He continues work at Cristo Rey through online calculus tutoring. Bob also has ridden Peletonia ten times and raised over $35,000 for cancer research at Ohio State. He is a part of a group that does a week long ride each year. He considers cycling his top hobby. He and his wife, Trish also enjoy travelling and hope to resume that soon. They have been able to travel to Ireland, Hawaii, Danube and Rhine Rivers, China, Tibet, Paris, Morocco, and a dozen US trips. He spends a lot of time maintaining and improving his home. A fun fact about Bob is that his mother was born in a log house in Kentucky, just like Abe Lincoln. “Abe is older though.” Bob is looking forward to the COVID vaccine, being able to visit family, and getting back to a sense of normal.
Bob has gained a lot of respect for those who build homes for a living, knowing how exhausting it can be. He has also really enjoyed getting to meet the families who will live in the homes he helps build. Meeting those families encourages him and other volunteers to “take your time and learn to do things right, build it like you’re going to live there.” Thank you for your work Bob and we look forward to the work you will continue to do furthering Habitat’s mission!