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...Dan Moorhead and Tom Kirwin!!!
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 on 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 home owner who worked with us just about every week.” This is just one of the many families that Dan has contributed his time on building part of their home. Dan remarked on how he has grown as a volunteer, “I think I am 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 Sunday’s 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 is “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 to future volunteers is “As with most things in life, the most important thing is to show up”.
Previous Volunteer Spotlights
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!
Dave Zuehlke first began volunteering with Habitat MidOhio in the late 1990’s through his church and his employer, who sponsored a home. At that time volunteers brought all the tool needed for that day. When he retired, Dave started volunteering 2 or 3 days a week with a regular crew. By this time Habitat MidOhio had begun improving its organization and planning. One way this was done was through Habitat providing tools and a staff lead to teach volunteers what to do if they did not know. “Habitat has come a long way in making this enjoyable for everyone. It is a group of great people that tease each other a lot and have a great time. It sometimes surprised me the amount of work we do get done with all the fun and laughter that we do have. It continues to be a learning experience on each home and we work on with a great lead, Dan, that makes it fun for all and still gets a quality home built. Everyone helps each other in whatever we do in completing the tasks. It is a real team effort in the construction process.” When asked if he had any particular memory that stood out, Dave could not think of any, “There are many great memories.”
As a longtime volunteer, Dave has learned many skills; including methods to frame and side a home and to install stairs, windows and doors. He also has been able to refine his interior finishing skills like laying flooring, hanging cabinets, and adding trim. With these skills, Dave has been able to grow his confidence in completing home repair projects for himself, family, and friends. New skills are not all that is gained while volunteering. Dave also gain a sense of accomplishment each day on site. “At the end of each work day at Habitat, I can look at what we did that day and be proud of what we accomplished that we have progressed a home for a great family one more step to completion. It just feels great to be with others and also help others.”
Outside of Habitat, Dave continues to give back! He has been involved with the Boy Scouts in different positions for 30 years, is a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels once or twice a week, and assists at the Furniture Bank by cutting out pieces that can then be assembled into furniture. When not giving back, Dave enjoys walking, making things for friends and family in his woodshop, working in his yard or home, and travelling and cruising with his wife. He and his wife try to spend as much time as possible with their 5 grandkids.
Dave encourages others to volunteer. “Habitat is what you will make it, but Habitat and the other volunteers help make it a great experience. They will teach you what you need to know to do the tasks of the day. They are also very open that you can come to work as your schedule permits. If you need to miss a few days or weeks to other commitments, like traveling or family appointments, that is no issue. You volunteer as you want and can and are welcome back when you return.” We are grateful for all Dave has done for the community and Habitat. We look forward to many more years serving with him!
Phil Sawich started volunteering in the early 90s with his employer, AEP. He was able to work on several new builds and deconstruction projects. After a hiatus from volunteering, he returned in 2015 upon retiring from AEP and began volunteering with the Hilliard Adopt-A-House group, as well as with AEP and DAKlectric. Over the years that he is volunteered, Phil has seen Habitat MidOhio change and become more organized and able to provide a high quality home to partner families. As a volunteer, Phil feels that he grows and learns new things every time he is on site. “Everyone has a little bit different spin on how things can be done. From that, I keep the best practices and use them going forward. This also helps me to guide other volunteers in new ways of doing things.” When asked what makes volunteering with Habitat a meaningful use of time, Phil mentioned a common Habitat phrase: “It’s a hand up, not a hand out.” Our partner families work on their own homes. Phil feels that this helps them have more investment in the process and helps them grow.
Outside of Habitat, Phil is a frequent volunteer at the Greek Orthodox Church where, at least twice a month, he helps prepare meals for those experiencing homelessness. He helps with festival preparation and execution. He also helps facilitate an outreach program that provides a meal and a quiet place for college students to come study. Phil loves to cook and make bread. He learned how to make bread from an artisan bread maker that was over 90 years old. Phil loves to be able to spend time with his daughter, son-in-law and their3 year old son. “My grandson keeps me young and engaged. He constantly reminds me of things that are new to him and I get to see a new world through his eyes.”
Phil suggests to anybody interested in volunteering to “come and learn. Even if you have never done anything like this before, you can learn. Don’t be afraid to try. We all learn something new and it just might be about the person next to you.”
Jim Siebert started volunteering with Habitat MidOhio on occasional Saturdays through his Church, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, many years ago. After retiring in 2015, he started volunteering regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was clear to him that there is a critical need for affordable housing and that Habitat can change people’s lives. By volunteering, he has a hand in that. “I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I'm helping provide affordable housing; a stable home environment in a house has an extremely positive impact on the quality of life for the adults and children.” Jim is a part of our “A-Team”, a group of retirees that volunteer together on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. They “get along very well; there is a lot of comradery.” His volunteering has given him the chance to learn new skills and more about home construction. He has been able to apply what he has learned to his DIYing. While volunteering has been a great learning experience, the fact that Jim can help provide affordable housing is what makes it a meaningful use of his time.
Outside of Habitat, Jim is very involved with his church and has been for over 45 years. Professionally, Jim was a civil engineer and has used those skills as a member of the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) since 2009. EWB works to improve the standard of living in third world countries through small infrastructure projects. They recently helped build a 3-room school building in central Guatemala. His chapter helps raise funds for materials and local skilled laborers, then helps build the project. Jim has been able to travel to Central America 8 times through EWB. While Jim’s sons were in Scouts, he served as an assistant Scout Master. Both sons were able to become Eagle Scouts. He always has a DIY project to work on when he is not volunteering or travelling with his wife. They enjoy travel in the US and Europe, especially to Minneapolis to visit their younger son and young grandchildren.
Jim suggests to “try it, you’ll like it” to anybody interested in volunteering. Thank you for your many years of volunteering with Habitat MidOhio and your commitment to making the world a better place!
Upon retirement from his IT position at Columbia Gas, then NiSource, Terry Baughman was looking for something to do. He saw an article in the gas company credit union’s newsletter regarding the sponsorship of a Habitat home in Columbus. Terry came out to volunteer on site one day and through chatting with longtime volunteer and site lead, Ben Freudenriech, decided to continue coming out. In 2005, Terry spent most of that summer on site and eventually became a regular volunteer with Habitat MidOhio’s Tuesday and Thursday Crew.
Prior to volunteering, Terry held several misconceptions about Habitat. Like many others, he thought homes were given away. He also did not realize that you do not need to know what you are doing to volunteer on site. In his 15 years volunteering at Habitat MidOhio, Terry has learned that Habitat homeowners both work towards and pay mortgages for their homes. Working with the partner families is one of his favorite parts of being a Habitat volunteer. “The memories that stand out are working with the families and getting the feeling of how appreciative they are and how hard they work.” Another thing Terry has learned as a volunteer has been more patience. “Things on site don’t always happen as fast as you’d like.” This patience has been tested as Terry undergoes treatment for pancreatic cancer. Terry has been keeping himself busy with fellow volunteer, Don Spoelker, by planning various jigs that can be used on site to create a safer environment. This has been a practical way he can continue to be a problem solver off site. Working with other to solve problems on site is another one of Terry’s favorite parts of volunteering. He also has been able to do brief drive by visits to site to those he has built friendships with while volunteering. It is clear that volunteering is seen as a meaningful use of Terry’s time. In addition to working with the families, Terry enjoys the friendships he has gained, the joy of seeing something take shape, and seeing the improvements being made into a home. “It really is a rewarding experience in so many ways. It makes you feel valued again.”
Outside of Habitat MidOhio, Terry is involved with many affiliates while travelling. He has volunteered in Arizona, Mississippi, and as a colligate challenge leader. When not volunteering, Terry enjoys woodworking, Ham Radio, and traveling in his RV with his wife, Sue. Terry and Sue have grandkids that they love dearly, though only seeing them through Zoom has been difficult. They are looking forward to trips to the Colorado River for rafting and to Manitoba, Canada to see polar bears and the Northern Lights.
When asked for advice for future volunteers, Terry suggest to “Just give it a try, you’d be amazed at what you will learn.”
Habitat MidOhio volunteers often start as a part of a group. This was the case for Vicki Nichols. She started with the Hilliard Adopt-A-House when she retired about 10 years ago. She chose to volunteer with Habitat because “The Habitat mission embodies what I think a mission’s work should be about. I don’t like giving things to people because it doesn’t have a long term effect. The Habitat view of working and learning how to maintain a home and be a good neighbor is an essential part of making the world a better place.” She has mostly worked on new build construction projects and a little bit on deconstruction projects and with our ReStores. “I liked Habitat from day one. I like the construction and I liked the group of people I was working with.” Since beginning as a volunteer, Vicki has shifted to be a part of our Women Build crew. Initially Vicki liked being involved in all aspects of the construction process. She has gravitated more towards teaching other, giving new volunteers tips, and making sure others have a task that they want to do. The best advice she can give volunteering is that “volunteering with Habitat is not just about the work, it is about the opportunity to share with other volunteers and build relationships with them. Take the time to talk and relate to them, you never know what you might learn.”
Outside of Habitat, Vicki is a part of an Early Response Team through the United Methodist Church. This team goes into disaster areas soon after a disaster to help with clean up and stabilization of houses. She also participates in the Disaster Recovery Team by going in to help rebuild homes affected by a disaster. Vicki enjoys sports and being active as well. She is a frequent biker, hiker, and walker. She and her husband travel often as he is a background actor for TV and movies. They recently returned from a trip to Atlanta where her husband was a background actor for the TV show Ozark.
We are grateful for the past 10 years Vicki has volunteered with Habitat MidOhio and are looking forward to many more!
Don spent 35 years as a pharmaceutical sales team member at Pfizer Inc. and got to see improvements on quality of life and, in some cases, lifesaving procedures. He knew that upon retirement he wanted to continue in that same spirit: improving quality of life. After attending an event to learn about volunteer opportunities at Habitat, Don was surprised to see just how many volunteer opportunities there were and the scope of the mission, which goes beyond just building houses. He was impressed and signed up to volunteer twice a week that day. During his professional career, he didn’t have a lot of time to use his hands to make things happen. As a construction volunteer, that changes. Don, over the past 17 years, has been able to see the results of his, and others’, labors; and the eventual smiles on the faces of the new homeowner family. His time at Habitat has also allowed him to grow to accept change because “with change comes patience and understanding.”
Despite having limited free time in his career, Don found time to volunteer as a little league baseball coach, baseball umpire, and in later years, President of his Home Owners Association and President of the Westerville North Athletic Booster Club. Don reflected on his time volunteering in his youth and how it relates to his time now at Habitat. “My experiences as a volunteer taught me a lot about life beyond the environment I lived in. In the 1950’s when I was 13 or 14 years old, I volunteered at a weekly Church Bingo in Louisville, Kentucky. Unfortunately, at that time segregation still existed and I volunteered in the gym where the people of color had to sit. That experience taught me to treat everyone the same. That is the same experience I have witnessed with Habitat for Humanity. As Habitat’s mission statement begins, ‘Seeking to put God’s Love in Action HFHMO…’ has no room for discrimination whether a volunteer or a future homeowner.”
Another key part of Don’s volunteer experience at Habitat MidOhio has been his work on a Critical Home Repair Project for a military veteran. “I have never forgotten what a Veteran sacrifices for all of us. Volunteering with HFH to help repair this Veteran’s home was the ‘feel good’ feeling that had me wanting to do more.” This project is a way for him to continue his service 52 years after his time with the US Army Reserves, which included 6 months of active duty in a medical clinic pharmacy in Ft. Lewis, WA where Don witnessed the suffering of those returning from duty in Vietnam.
Outside of his time at Habitat, Don shares his time, talent, and treasure with the Homeless Families Foundation, Smokey Row, and Dublin Food Pantries. He also enjoys following Buckeye football and basketball as a season ticketholder, travelling, attempting projects in his beginner’s basement workshop, and playing Scrabble and other word games with his family. He and his wife, Betty, have 5 grandchildren, who are ages 13 to 21.
Don encourages others to volunteer. His words of advice are to “enjoy it, value it, and share the spirit of it with others.” Whether it is a big and memorable accomplishment like Don’s two-week Habitat build in Awaso, Ghana, West Africa in 2005 or the day to day enjoyment of “comradery, new friends, shared values, and an appreciation for Wendy’s and Subway at lunch to share adventures, family life and stories from the past,” Don has enjoyed his time volunteering at Habitat MidOhio and we greatly appreciate him sharing his time and talents with us!