Since 2011, our employees in the Greater Milwaukee area have been working alongside Habitat for Humanity, building homes in the Washington Park neighborhood, just minutes from the National Ave facility. Each September the build season kicks off with a “Blitz Build” week and construction continues throughout the year. This March a crew of just over 20 employees returned to the homes to paint the interior walls. Two coats of paint went up throughout each home in record time.
While there were plenty of our employees on hand who have been volunteering for Habitat since the beginning this opportunity was a first for several employees like Dan Harvey, Factory Product Support Manager
According to Dan, he had to volunteer because he wanted to see the impact first-hand. “I haven’t participated in the past but wanted to get involved and see for myself what the initiative was doing for the community.”
For Dan, the experience offered more than a chance to do something different, it expanded his network and broadened his connections.
“Everyone you encountered, including the Habitat volunteers, were in good spirits and enjoying the moment, it really made for a fun day. Being around people who you work with (or have worked with), in this environment made it very easy to socialize and just let loose a bit.” Adding, “It was fun to catch up with familiar faces that I have not talked to in a long time and meet some not so familiar faces from other areas of work. With some we talked shop, getting up to date on where everyone is, but mostly talked about how our lives have changed over the years and how through different experiences our lives can have an impact on young generations coming in.”
Every Habitat volunteer seems to have their favorite activity, for some they love building walls, for others they enjoy learning something new like hanging dry wall. For Dan, painting brings a sense of satisfaction.
“I do like to paint; you can’t rush it and you do need to be consistent. I find it gratifying as the rooms come together and get completed-and yes, there are ways to not get paint all over yourself.”
With the help of volunteers like Dan the painting is complete and the homes are in the final stages toward completion. Habitat is working on installing the vinyl plank flooring on the first floor and then will move towards installing the trim, doors and cabinets. The subcontractors will then begin including the volunteer crew that does electrical. In May, Habitat will have additional groups help finish up all the punch list items with the goal to have the homes completed by June. The closing and dedication dates will depend on when the first-time homeowners complete their sweat equity.
Since Milwaukee Habitat’s founding in 1984 more than 1000 families have been able to obtain a safer place to sleep at night, along with the strength, stability and independence to build better lives. This includes 15 families directly supported by our company, our employees and our suppliers since 2011.
As part of our charitable giving charter we focus on supporting organizations like Habitat that bring safety and vitality to the communities in which we operate. Our focus on the Washington Park neighborhood in Milwaukee has helped reduce crime, given children the stability of growing up in their own healthy home and strengthened the sense of community.