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A Small Sacrifice for Our American Heroes

Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Giving Back, Helping Our Heros, Living a Royal Life, Out and About, Serious Shit, Uncategorized
One of the units which received boxes from Operation America Cares

One of the units which received some of the boxes from Operation America Cares

Operation America Cares

I had known about the monthly packing events for a few years.  I meant to get around to it, time after time, but never had.  Then my great-nephew joined the marines in late June, and suddenly what they were doing jumped further to the top of my list.  I put it on my calendar, made a few phone calls, and showed up.

When I spoke to Linda Milimaki she told me to come about 8:45.  I pulled up at 8:50, because, once again, I had pulled away from my house without my cell phone, and needed to go back for it.  When I pulled up to the beautiful Escondido neighborhood that Linda lives in, I saw a flurry of activity.  Cars were lined up and down the street, the driveway was filled with tables, and her  3 car garage  was wall to wall tables and people in an “assembly line” filling up boxes.

This simple little hand lettered sign greeted me as I walked up the driveway, already bustling with volunteers diligently at work!

This simple little hand lettered sign greeted me as I walked up the driveway, already bustling with volunteers diligently at work!

The organization I had come to help on that Saturday morning is Operation America Cares. The organization was the brain-child of two sisters who found out that many of our troops never receive a care package or mail from home. They wanted to change that by providing a little ray of sunshine into the lives of some of those troops.

The Start of Something Great

They packed their first 35 boxes for Christmas in 2008. Since then there have been over 24,000 boxes send out of Linda’s home, with the help of donations and monthly packing “parties.”

I was first introduced to this endeavor through my local Realtor Caravan meetings a few years ago.  Every quarter we choose a local charity, and collect weekly donations. At the end of the quarter a check is presented to the chosen charity.  After hearing about Operation America Cares, I invited one of their volunteers, Cheryl Sutcliff, a local lender I know and trust in our community to come and speak to my Kiwanis club.  I was president of the club, and wanted my members to know about the need.

When Cheryl stood in front of our group with one of the boxes filled with the items sent off monthly, I felt like I was watching Mary Poppins pull things out of her magical carpetbag! I couldn’t believe how many goodies were stuffed into that small “Priority Mail” cardboard box!  Each and every item had been well thought out for the wants and needs of a young military hero.  There wasn’t one inch of wasted space, and nothing that wouldn’t be appreciated and enjoyed, by at least one young man, and most likely shared among a number of them!

This is just a small portion of the items organized to go into boxes each month. I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole process!

This is just a small portion of the items organized to go into boxes each month. I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole process!

One of the things I found most fascinating about the boxes was the fact that they send a little zip-lock sandwich bag filled with some spices.  One of them is taco seasoning from Del Taco.  It turns out, as I was told that the MRE meals lack flavor, so the taco-seasoning is a HUGE hit with the young men!  When told that their hot sauce was the one the young men preferred the most, the Del Taco at 9822 Magnolia Avenue in Santee, CA volunteered to donate enough to be sent off every month! Kudos to them for repeatedly stepping up to the plate for our military!

When I pulled up to Linda’s Escondido home that Saturday, it was a bee-hive of activity! I couldn’t believe how much was already happening by the time I arrived. One of the first things Linda did was to pray for the people working and for the military who would be receiving the boxes. She then read a few letters that had been received from some of the recipients of the boxes.  You would have thought that the boxes held the greatest treasures in the universe when you heard the heartfelt thanks for them!  It brought tears to my eyes to think that the simple little “shoebox” size boxes would bring such joy!

This letter and a handwritten note went into each box that we packed for our servicemen.

This letter and a handwritten note on a greeting card went into each box that we packed for our servicemen. Often, pictures drawn by schoolchildren in the area also go into the boxes. Because school was out of session, we didn’t have any of the children’s drawings to put into the boxes this particular month.

I approached one of the women working, who seemed to be knowledgeable about the procedures,  and she gave me a brief  “assembly line” walk through, and  set me to filling up boxes.  I went through the assembly line process and filled a few of the boxes.  It was then time to “repack” the boxes, and I was instructed in that.  Because there are toiletry items, and food items, they are separated into 2 different zip lock bags, so that if something should leak, everything isn’t ruined. There is a real science to packing the boxes so everything gets there safely, usable and fitting in the box. Everything is boxed in a Priority Mail box, which is $16.75 for all you can fit in the box, no matter what the weight.  And fit it in, they do!  Toilet paper, socks, a book, a magazine, numerous snacks, both salty and sweet, talcum powder, eye drops, toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm, crossword puzzles and other assorted items fill the boxes to the brim! Every box also gets a hand written note, and often pictures drawn by children.

A few of the volunteers of Operation America Cares, preparing the monthly boxes to be sent to our Military Heros who don't get recognized personally by family or friends.

A few of the volunteers of Operation America Cares, preparing the monthly boxes to be sent to our Military Heros who don’t get recognized personally by family or friends.

After I had helped fill a number of boxes it was mentioned that they were very short with hand written notes this month, so I went into the house to sit down and write out some cards to our Heroes!  This was right up my alley!  I LOVE writing letters, notes and cards! When I was younger and moved away from home, I used to hand-write up to 60 letters a week to friends and family!  (Obviously, that was Pre-email and Facebook days! I still miss handwritten letters updating us on what our loved ones are doing!)

We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.

We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.

I had the pleasure of sitting at the kitchen table in Linda’s house and write out notes with a few other volunteers.  The time flew by, and before I knew it, packing was done, and it was time for a photo with all of the packaged boxes and the volunteers from the day.

The boxes go to Military in all four branches who typically don’t ever get any care packages from home. Linda works closely with the Family Readiness officer at Camp Pendleton, and he gives her names and addresses of chaplains and commanding officers who have requested boxes for their men in the field.

I was happily surprised to see Liz Beach Hallin, who I've known since she was a small kid. Although Liz is fighting her own battle with MS, she was there to do her part to help our military. Liz was there with her husband Micah, and her mom Sarah Beach. Liz has a brother, Kenneth, who is in the Army. My son and Kenneth were friends as small boys, and Kenneth always said he was going to go into the military!

I was happily surprised to see Liz Beach Hallin, who I’ve known since she was a small kid. Although Liz is fighting her own battle with MS, she was there to do her part to help our military. Liz was there with her husband Micah, and her mom Sarah Beach. Liz has a brother, Kenneth, who is in the Army. My son and Kenneth were friends as small boys, and Kenneth always said he was going to go into the military!

The Starfish Story

 

What two sisters put in motion 10 years ago is awe inspiring!  I’m so glad to have been a part of it! What I can’t help but think though is HOW MANY MORE young marines could use one of these packages each month!  Probably, literally THOUSANDS!  Please don’t misunderstand and think that I am in ANY way putting down Operation America Cares.  Heavens NO!  What I’m saying though is that we could use 50, 100, 500 more “chapters” of this charity across the country, doing what is being done here for our young military heroes!

It makes me think of the Starfish story.  There are a few versions of it, but the gist of them are all the same.  The story goes something like this……..A little boy is walking along the beach, and thousands of starfish are washed up on the shore, going to die.  He leans over as he walks along, and continues to throw in one starfish after another.  He is walking with his grandpa who says to him, “Why bother? You can’t make a difference, with all of these starfish dying on the beach.” The little boy’s response is “It makes a difference to this one.”

That’s what Operation America Cares is all about.  It’s making a difference to that marine who receives a package.  Hopefully, that package puts a smile on his or her face, knowing that someone they don’t even know has thought about them, and making their day better as they serve our country. It is a very small drop in the bucket, but it is a drop that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for this amazing organization!

A picture of some of our young military Heros receiving one of the packages. Look at the delight on their faces, over something so simple!

A picture of some of our young military Heros receiving one of the packages. Look at the delight on their faces, over something so simple!

A Job Well Done!

The packing is down to such an efficient routine that it was over quickly! When we were finished, Linda took a photo of that months’ volunteers behind the 150 boxes we had prepared to be shipped off.  It takes a number of vehicles to get the boxes to the post office, so I volunteered to fill my car up.  I wanted to see the process “start to finish” so to speak.  One van and two cars filled to the brim, and off we went to get the boxes on their way to our well deserving military in the field.

The volunteers who worked at the July packing day, with the completed boxes ready to go off to the post office!

Some of the  volunteers who worked at the July packing day, with the completed boxes ready to go off to the post office! What a great group of people, doing their part to say “Thank You” to our heroes out in the field!

You Can Help Too!

You may wonder how you could help this worthwhile cause.  Go to their website. Make a donation, if you can to c,over postage, or to purchase items they may be short of one month. Perhaps, think of starting a similar organization in your area.  I don’t think we could possibly over saturate the “market” of needy Marines! If you are in the local area, purchase some of the supplies listed below,and get them to Linda for future packing dates.  Write some notes to marines to be included in future boxes. Arrange to come and help pack boxes one day.  Whatever you do to be a part of the this endeavor, you’ll be blessed by being a part of it, I’m sure!

Please, go and check out the website, and do what you can to help!  http://OperationAmericaCares.org

The back of one of the volunteer's shirts. She is a proud marine mom!

The back of one of the volunteer’s shirts. She is a proud marine mom!

 

Are you local to Operation America Cares, and wondering what you might purchase to help the cause out? Some of the goodies that go into the well planned out boxes are listed below:

What’s In a Box?

ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE CARE PACKAGES
(MOST OF THESE CAN BE PURCHASED AT A DOLLAR STORE!!)
  • $$ for postage (currently $16.75 per care package)
  • Socks crew or athletic (no shorties please)
  • Eye drops (any brand) The wind, sun and desert sand hurt their eyes!
  • Triple anti-biotic ointment/Neosporin or other anti-biotic cream w/pain reliever
  • Advil/ibuprofen/generic pain relievers
  • Insect repellent – no aerosol spray cans
  • Sun screen – no aerosol spray cans
  • Full sized baby wipes/body wipes (80 count or larger)
  • Hand santizer – individual size
  • Chap sticks
  • Kleenex – travel size
  • Gold Body Powder (available at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving gel – no aerosol cans
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes/dental floss
  • Toothpaste – regular size tubes
  • Toiletries from your hotel stays
  • Soap – any size
  • Gum – individual packs
  • Mints – individual packs
  • Single serve drink sleeves – for adding to bottles of water
  • Single serve coffee sleeves – such as Starbucks VIA
  • Top Ramen – no cup of soup (to big for care packages)
  • Canned soups, stews, fruit
  • Jerky – all flavors
  • Energy bars and snack bars
  • Nuts – individual bags or small cans
  • Sunflower seeds – individual packs
  • Dum dums, tootsie roll pops and hard candy.  Must be individually wrapped
  • M&M – individual bags ( they melt in your mouth, not in Afghanistan)
  • Cookies  – individual packs
  • Condiments – small giveaways from fast food restaurants and such – any kind!!!
  • Peanut butter/jam – individual servings
  • Crossword books/word game books/travel games
  • Magazines – no older than 3 months – please focus on men or social mags such as People
  • Paperback books – no romance novels please
  • DVDs – can be recycled
  • Blank paper, envelopes/pens – for them to write home
  • Thank you notes – written from us to them!  If you include your name and address, you may get a letter!
  • Pictures and notes from kids
  • Zip lock bags – gallon, quart or snack size
  • One more picture of a happy recipient of one of the boxes. You can see that by the time they receive them, the boxes look like they have been through the ringer!

    One more picture of a happy recipient of one of the boxes. You can see by the time they receive them, the boxes look like they have been through the ringer!

    Feel free to contact Operation America Cares directly, or get your donations to me and I will be happy to put them in Linda’s hands when I go over to volunteer for the next “packing party!”

Smile and The World Smiles With You!

Adventures With Attitude!, Giving Back, life, My Humble Opinion, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Do you ever wonder how much one person can impact our world?  I think we can have more impact than we might realize.  The commercial I’ve attached to this article shows a great example of this theory. Sure, you can say it is “just a commercial.”  “Not real.”  “All actors.”  But I challenge you to watch this and not laugh.  Really laugh.  Laugh out loud.

I simply couldn’t stop myself from laughing when I watched it.

That being said, could you imagine the world, and what a better place it would be if each of us took the time to share a smile, share a laugh, and make the people around us a bit happier and full of joy?

I can think back to times when I felt my world was crashing around me, and more than once, just the kindness of a stranger, reaching out, being kind, giving a smile made me feel SO much better.  They may not have realized it at the time, but they changed my world- at least for that moment, that hour or that day.

We never know what a stranger is going through.  Hell, often we don’t even know a small crumb of what people we consider “close to us” are going through.  People tend to keep their problems close to the vest. They are embarrassed or ashamed to share with others, afraid of being judged, or looking bad. Your love, your kindness, your sparkle, your smile just might be what they need.

I challenge you to make it your goal to get a smile out of at LEAST one person you don’t know each and every day.  The check out clerk at the grocery store.  A person in line at the bank.  Someone at the gas station.

Remember the old saying, “Smile and the world smiles with you.”  Let’s make that a reality!

 

 

The Best Gift(s) That I Ever Got….

Adventures With Attitude!, Comedy, Fabulous After 50, Family Time, Giving Back, Uncategorized

When Christmas is close we can’t help but think about gifts.  Both gifts we have given others, and gifts we have received. One of my favorite Christmas songs was on an album (yep, that’s how I still think….. album) by Barbara Streisand.  “The Greatest Gift I Ever Got” talks about the gift not costing a lot… Although, truth be told, the gift she is speaking about is a baby. And babies do. Cost. A. LOT!  However, I digress…..

When you think back about the gifts you have received over the years, it most often isn’t the ones that cost the most that you remember.  And, being the age I am now……. a whoppin’ old 60, I have a LOT of gifts I can think back on.  Most AREN’T remembered years later, sad as that may be.

Sometimes the ones we remember are the goofiest ones ever!  The ones where you received them and thought….. “Really? Really? This person thought this was an appropriate gift?” “They really thought I’d like this?  Need this?  WANT this?”  I remember when I married my kids’ dad… (remember readers, if you’ve been paying attention, I either have to number them, or refer to them by a phrase that will help you to remember.  This husband was husband # 2, “My kids’ dad” is the phrase I typically use. There could be a pop quiz on this at some point, so write this down so you can refer back later….)

Again, I digress……where was I?  Oh yes. When I married my Kids’ dad, we had a big wedding.  All the typical bells and whistles….. the hotel reception, band, food, drinks.  I was marrying a man with more kids than a basketball team (I think, anyway.  I’m not much of a sports person.)  So, it’s not just two little newlyweds starting out life. We were the Brady Bunch on steroids.  Some jackass gives us 2……. count them 2 REALLY ugly rust colored cloth placemats with matching napkins.  Dollar stores didn’t exist then, but if they had, these wouldn’t be sold there because they weren’t nice enough. I DO, however, remember them some 38 years later……. The ugly rust “sets of two”  were closely followed up by the 2 “napkin rings” another wedding attendee gave us which looked like hamburgers that you stuck your napkins through. Almost equally ugly on the gift giving spectrum.  Both attendees were obviously friends, to have given these gifts – and in the quantity they chose. Just in case we decided to have a romantic little “hamburger” picnic somewhere without the kids in tow, I suppose………

Back to the story line here.  When you think back to the best gifts that you ever got, they usually aren’t the most expensive.  They are often the most thoughtful.  Many times, they were something that someone took the time to make for you by hand.

I’ve been giving this a bit of thought of late. What was the best gift I’ve ever gotten?  I can’t really narrow it down to just one gift.  But I can narrow it down to a few.

I had wanted to skydive since I was a teenager.  I never had done it, for a number of reasons.  The biggest reason was that my husbands (yes, plural. And yes, all of them) always said the same thing.  “No wife of mine is going to jump out of a plane.” WTF is wrong with men- that they don’t want you to jump outta’ a plane? Possessive bastards!

So, after I got rid of the last husband…. (in case you are paying attention, and want to have the answer for the pop quiz. he was #3 and is fondly referred to as “The financial fuck-up.”  Write this down so you can refer back when needed.)

As I was saying……. after I got rid of the last hubby, I wanted more than EVER to jump out of a plane.  I’m a thrill seeker, and I love trying anything daring, fun and different.  My daughter surprised me, and her brother by buying us tickets to sky-dive together!  A TOTAL surprise, and one of my favorite gifts EVER. After all, if you ARE going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and if the worst should happen, go with all of your children along. That way you won’t leave behind any grieving kiddos!  As you can probably surmise by the fact that you are reading this blog……… it all worked out well in the end!  SUCH great fun, in fact, that we all 3 purchased another ticket to come back again and jump out together one more time!

Don, my current (and permanent- if I’ve got any say in the matter) man  bought me a hang gliding experience last year, but time hasn’t permitted me jumping off a cliff yet!  I can’t wait to do it though!

St. Nick isn’t the only one who brings great gifts!

One of the other gifts that meant the world to me came from a person  I don’t even know.  A number of years ago, a package came in the mail.  In it was a beautifully framed, counted cross-stitch picture.  It says “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Heb. 13:2”.  In the package was a note, thanking me for letting this person in to make a call when they were lost.  You can tell how long ago this was, because it was before we had cell phones!  We lived in Rancho Santa Fe, and it was pretty easy to get turned around and lost out there.  And I was one of those trusting people who let someone come in and make a call to figure out where they needed to be.  It had happened more than once, so when this unexpected gift showed up, I barely remembered the incident.

When the gift arrived in the mail I was surprised.  Number 1, it hadn’t seemed like a big deal to me.  Number 2, I had done counted cross stitch, and trust me…… I don’t like ANYONE well enough to spend the time and effort to do it for THEM!  This little 6×6 framed saying has remained out in my home every day in the 25-30 years that I have owned it.  It is very pretty, but it’s much more than that.  Every time I look at it I have 2 thoughts.  What I did, in the smallest kindness, for whatever reason meant a lot to someone else.  AND, what they did for me meant so much to me.

We don’t know how a small kindness might affect someone else.  Just a kind word telling someone what a great job they are doing, how festive their holiday attire is, how you noticed THEIR kindness to someone else could mean more than you will EVER know.

So, in this time of gift giving— busyness, hustle and bustle, please remember to give the greatest gift of all.  Kindness.  It doesn’t cost anything, but can make the world of difference.

 

 

If I had a Hammer…..

Giving Back, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Uncategorized

The famous “pink safety hat” that Habitat gives out to the women who raise over $500.00 for the Women’s Build Day.  SD Habitat for Humanity

Many of you remember the old song, “If I Had a Hammer.”  After working with Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build for a day, helping to build a home for a local San Diego family, I’d definitely finish the line by saying, “I’d replace it with a nail gun or a power drill!”  Hitting nails in the old fashioned way is just not all that easy, nor all that fun!  There is a VERY good reason why, when you walk past a construction site you hear the clacking of nail guns and the whir of power drills. They are one HUGE leap up in productivity from the old fashioned pounding in of the 8 penny or the 16 penny!

Of course, there is plenty-good reason why they don’t give us once-in-a-lifetime types of volunteers nail guns.  Because society would be full of one eyed previous volunteer type people wandering around!  As it was, it was damned good we were all wearing hard hats at this event!  More than one of us was hit in the head by dropped hammers, pieces of wood and other debris!

I have wanted to help with a Habitat for Humanity build for years.   I never really knew how to go about it, until the opportunity presented itself a few weeks back.  A friend of mine from a networking group I belong to put out the word that she was trying to put together a team of women for a local build day.  I immediately jumped at the chance, even though I was already committed to another volunteer opportunity that evening.  I knew I might be bone tired for my volunteer ushering with some friends, but I wasn’t going to miss this chance.

Part 1 of volunteering for the build is you need to raise a minimum of $300.00. Raising money for these types of volunteer events used to be pretty easy.  Now that there is some sort of MS walk, Breastcancer walk, Brain Cancer walk, Alzheimers event or other needy-cause event nearly every weekend, I find it’s much harder to raise funds.  I volunteer for these events 5-10 times a year, and you can only put your hand out so many times before people just don’t even notice any more.  Therefore, raising the $300.00 in about 5 weeks wasn’t as easy as I had hoped! I knew that if needed I could donate whatever hadn’t been raised.  And my man also offered to put up anything needed, so it wasn’t going to be a deal breaker on participating in the event. The biggest chunk of donations came in over the last couple of days. We only had to kick in about $100.00 total.

Our team at 7 AM, meeting at a Starbucks to caravan down to our build site, in the Logan Heights area of San Diego. Left to Right: Darcy Wolfe, Tonya Dubrish, Lisa O’Hearn, Kim Lombardi,  Patti Phillips, Hadley Wood

The morning of the build, Saturday, May 20 was bright and sunny. Our team met up at a Starbuck’s coffee, located near where most of us lived, so that we could caravan down to Logan Heights, where the build was to take place.  We had 2 cars, because I needed to find a YMCA to shower and change at immediately after our build, to go on to event #2!  All 5 of us grabbed a coffee and piled into 2 cars to get to the build site before 8:30 AM.

The minute we arrived, we were given our tee shirts and those who had raised over $500.00 were given pink hard hats or a pink tool belt- their choice.  I was feeling a little jealous that I had neighter, but, what’s a girl to do?

There were coffee, drinks, croissants and bagels to help ourselves to, until the kickoff announcements took place.  We were all chomping at the bit to get the building started.

The site we worked on will eventually be 11 homes for low income families.  They are attached- 4 or so to a building, and our assigned unit was Unit #1, a handicapped friendly unit. (Not sure how that’s going to work, as all of the bedrooms are upstairs, but this is not my monkey, and not my circus.)

We all grabbed hammers, tool belts, safety glasses and hardhats and were assigned our 2 male “supers” for the day.  And away we went……   One of the first things I noticed was that hammering a nail is just wasn’t as freaking easy as I had thought it would be.  Then I was told, we didn’t have big enough hammers, go outside and find some bigger hammers.  Unfortunately, no one had mentioned that the buckets held 2 sizes of hammers when we chose our tools, and the big ones seemed to be gone.  I was sent to ask Dale, one of the long timers who works on all the local Habitat builds, where to get a larger hammer.  After investigating, Dale let me know that none of the large hammers were still available, and after promising I could be trusted with his own personal, FAVORITE hammer, he entrusted me with it.

Patti & Dale- Habitat for Humanity Build

Here I am with Dale at the Habitat for Humanity Build. He let me use his “big tool” that day, and let me tell you- size DOES matter! Don’t let them kid you!

Let me tell you something.  Size does matter!  Hitting in a nail with Dale’s big tool was 100% easier than it was with the previous hammer.  But now I had to shlep 2 hammers, because I had a pinky swear with Dale that I would not use his hammer to pull out any bent nails.  A girl has to live up to her word, so one hammer to put the nails in, one to take them out.  (Yes, sometimes the nails just seem to have a mind of their own, and decide to give this wet-noodle performance.  they have to go.)

And not to brag, but this lefty found out that she’s ambidexerous when it comes to wielding a hammer!  Yep, I can use the left, the right, or when needed BOTH hands to get the job done.  My abilities just never cease to amaze me!

I got to use a power saw to cut a few of the beams, and we quickly came to realize how damned heavy a 24 foot beam is!  Holy Shit, lift a few of those puppies in place and you know you’ve lifted something.

My first try with a power saw. And dammit, I want one of my very own now!

Our team of women was great. There wasn’t one whinner or wimp amongst them! Everyone worked the whole day, the only complaint was that we wanted a shorter lunch hour, and wished we could have worked a bit longer!  Team “Carlsbad Cares” rocked it, I must say!

Patti & Kim at lunch. We took a bit of razzing from our team, because neither one of us had removed our safety helmets or safety goggles while we were eating! Hey- we are professionals here, people!

It got hotter than hell out there by afternoon, I must say!  I have a newfound appreciation and respect for construction workers now, no way around it!  Geez, when you are up on scaffolding and you are so hot you think for a minute you might faint, it’s not fun!

H4h nails

I took a bit of razing about the fact that my nails matched the hard hats, and tool belts exactly. Only trouble was- I didn’t earn the pretty things! I need to raise more funds next year! The Queen needs to be decked out!

The most surprising part of the day was when we found out that this job site will take Habitat about 2 years to complete!  I had no idea that the jobs take that long. There is a good chance that we might be back here working on the same project for next year’s build! I am going to find out how I can do another day on this building.  I would love to see it when it is closer to being completed, and perhaps do some of the finish work or painting!

On site, along with breakfast and lunch, there are volunteers who give each volunteer a 10 minute chair massage.  Believe me, those were much appreciated by all! I didn’t realize that I had a few sore arm muscles from hammering, until she started to work them out of me!

At each build day there is a playhouse which is constructed and given out to different community places.  The wood is pre-cut, so it is basically assembled and painted.  This is the one that one of the teams put together. It turned out really cute!

The playhouse which was created by one of the teams on our build day. Just darling! It will go to a local playground, school or boys and girls club.

I was UBER impressed, when at the morning kick off they announced the person and team who had raised the most money for the event.  A darling, trim blonde, Kay Grimes had raised over $7200.00 and her team, “The Riveters raised over $17,000 between them.

 

Kay Grimes

Kay Grimes was the top individual fundraiser for our build day! I have to say, I was REALLY jealous of the pink tool box she got as an award! I think that looked like it was “made for a queen”— don’t you?

I was curious as to how this team got together, and how they raised such a phenomenal amount.  Kay shared with me that their team leader, Kelly Mercado, put together a group of friends who all work in the building industry.  Kay said that raising the amount she did had actually been easy.  Here is a quote from her email to me about her fundraising.  “There’s no great secret to my fundraising, actually.  My job puts me in a position the people (1) open my emails, (2) read them, and (3) want to make me happy.  That’s it in a nutshell, so I don’t have any amazing tips, other than always being very appreciative of those who support me.”

The Rivetors Team

The Rivetors! Top fundraising team! Here they are, enjoying a beer at the end of the build day! You go girls! (You’ve gotta love the girl who has tennies matching the t-shirts!

It’s great that Kay and her team both had the support they did. I’m sure a big part of the support was because of relationships Kay and her friends have cultivated in their communities. It is good to hear that our local building industry is so supportive of the Habitat endeavors.  I know that most of the supplies were donated to this site, quite a lot of them by Home Depot and Lowes.  I am looking forward to seeing Kay, The Rivetors and all of the other friends I made this year, again at next year’s event.  I know that I will be there!

So, my friends, please consider donating to the cause next year when I put out the plea for donations for this event.  It’s certainly a worthwhile event.  Not a hand out to a family, but a hand up.  The families that are able to purchase the homes give 250 hours each to the building of a Habitat home. They have some skin in the game, and they are able to achieve the great American Dream- home ownership!