Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Last week my wife Susan and I had the pleasure of working with the Martha’s Vineyard Habitat For Humanity team at Bailey Park Road. Along with about 15 other volunteers and two construction leaders, Lee and Bill, we accomplished three major goals. The first was to work on the front steps, clean up the basement, install two staircases, measure and mill lumber for trim work and police the area for safety hazards. The second goal was more important. We met and got to know the other volunteers who planned and looked forward to being a part of this day. Some might consider this a sacrifice, considering we were all vacationers on a magnificent Island. The truth is that this experience added to the magnificence of the Island and the bonus is now we know more people who share our passion for assisting in building affordable homes. And the third goal that we accomplished, which was the most important of all, was meeting the homeowners. They worked right alongside us and made our tasks more personal and rewarding. The Habitat family that just moved in last week even brought chocolate cupcakes for us to enjoy after lunch. This is another example of getting more out of the experience than putting in to it.
Susan and I have traveled around the world with Habitat for Humanity (Nepal, Alaska, Thailand, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey, New Orleans, and now the Vineyard) and can tell you that volunteering is more about the people than the hammers, nails and mortar. Based on our experiences, we can testify that the Martha’s Vineyard affiliate is one of the best. For more information about the home, families, donating, and volunteering you can contact them at habitatmv.org, and for worldwide Habitat information go to habitat.org. From all of us who worked that day and all of the other volunteers who help out on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s safe to say that when you get home from your summer on the Vineyard, you will remember your Habitat day a lot longer than you will any one of your beach days.