Thursday, February 23, 2017

Homes for Vets

When friends we met in Sheridan, WY, emailed us that they planned to help Habitat for Humanity build homes for veterans in Eustis, FL, Tim and I decided it would be a win-win for us to participate, too.  Not only would we get to work with Ruby and Randall once again,



but we could express our gratitude in a tangible way for the veterans who would qualify as Habitat owners.  


Plus, Tim is a vet with stints at Fort McClellan, AL; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Fort Carson, CO and Fort Belvoir, VA so that played into our decision as well.  Accordingly, our commitment could be described as a win-win-win!

The statistics about veterans are staggering.  To quote Habitat for Humanity's web site regarding their Veterans Build program,
"Today, 1.4 million veterans live in poverty.  Much of this is a result of the cost of housing, despite having access to VA loans and other assistance.  Almost 4 million veterans pay at least 30 percent of their income toward their rent or mortgage, while over 1.5 million pay at 50 percent."
Habitat's Veterans Build initiative builds new homes as well as rehabbing and remodeling existing homes for disabled veteran homeowners.  The Cottages at Waters Edge project where we've been working is new construction.

Standing on a cul de sac that ends at the edge of Lake Enola are two homes that are already completed.

These were built in the late 2000s by a developer who went bankrupt.  Subsequently, the local Habitat affiliate bought up the rest of the lots in the Cottages subdivision.  

One day the two houses plus 12 more will welcome a veteran homeowner and his/her family.

Bob and Doris

Bob, a veteran himself, and his wife Doris are Habitat volunteers who have committed their entire winter to this build in Eustis.  They act as site managers on the project, assigning daily jobs and training volunteers to complete them.  They say that's been an easy and enjoyable job, especially with two zany local volunteers like Ruby and Randall.

Randall and Ruby

One or two other local volunteers have joined us each day, but for the most part, it has been the six of us.

But such as small work force is unusual for Eustis.  Normally, there are groups of college students and other volunteers who descend upon the community for a week or two of intensive labor.  The local affiliate's office is in a hall formerly owned by a church.  Not only does it act as the Habitat office, but classrooms have been converted to dorm rooms with five bunkbeds each, allowing the affiliate to host large work groups.

Tim and I

It's a small drop in the bucket, but Tim and I agree that the time we spent at the Veterans Build in Eustis, FL has been time well-spent.


  1. What a great idea and cause. Glad to see you guys are having fun on this leg of your trip. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this! It is a worthy cause. I hope Habitat is able to serve a great number of vets across the country.

  2. Love this post it's so great to see all this coming to fruition for veterans!

    1. Thanks, Yas! I know you have a soft spot for veterans, thanks to Adam's service.