Habitat house owner, others get a hand from mayor, volunteers
By Martha Elson • firstname.lastname@example.org • January 8, 2011
Sidney Roberts was out working to rehab his own house on South 37th Street in western Louisville as part of a Habitat for Humanity project for the mayor’s Day of Service event Saturday.
Roberts, a hospital floor technician who expected to exceed 400 hours of “hands-on” volunteer service on the house today, hopes to move in next month.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said, and “meeting people is what I love the most.”
Attired in a warm, brown jumpsuit, he was joined by other Habitat staff and regular volunteers and a team of 12 volunteers from metro government, including Mayor Greg Fischer himself.
Mayor's Day of Service
Fischer cut boards with a circular saw and drove nails into a deck that volunteers were constructing in the snow and ice out back. This won’t be the only Day of Service, said Fischer, who set the event as part of his inauguration.
“This is the inaugural voyage of compassion and volunteership,” he said.
About 800 volunteers were expected to be out Saturday working on more than 60 projects around the city, after Fischer called for the Day of Service to promote community involvement during his inaugural week.
By late morning, Fischer had also made stops to check on projects at the Center for Women and Families, 4303 W. Broadway; the Parkland Boys and Girls Club, 3200 Greenwood Ave; and the former day care center building for the Presbyterian Community Center on South Hancock Street.
The Habitat project was marred when volunteers discovered Saturday morning that a hole had been kicked in the basement door, and a new high-efficiency furnace, doors and other building materials were gone. “It happens,” said Rob Locke, Habitat’s director.
But the Day of Service concept is a boon to the agency. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of Habitat,” Locke said
It also needs sponsors willing to contribute $25,000 for house projects this year.At the Parkland Club, Kevin and Michelle Jones, who live in the Middletown area and go to Southeast Christian Church, had brought their two sons, Logan, 14, and Parker, 12, with them to help paint a room, along with other volunteers.
“We try to be involved in some projects around the city every year,” Kevin Jones said.
“Thank you all very much for being here,” Fischer said, before heading for the Presbyterian Community Center project.
The day care operation, which had been in the Louisville Free Public Library’s former Eastern branch building for 30 years, moved to the Presbyterian center three weeks ago.
Volunteers from the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of Kentucky and Indiana were helping clear out the building for new uses.
Over the holidays, the group also helped Volunteers of America collect warm clothing, said Dr. Muhammad Babar, who works at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital.
The mostly-Muslim group wants to “show who we really are” and to counteract the effects of extremists who have “hijacked our identity.”
The members have benefited from being in their communities, “and it’s time to pay back,” Barbar said.