DEARBORN - A Habitat for Humanity worksite is the very definition of progress. Volunteers gather, trucks roll in and out, and before you know it a once vacant lot becomes a family home. It's a remarkable scene of skill and cooperation, hard work and heart. The sounds of hammers, drills and saws fill the air and another step is taken to revitalize a community.
Habitat for Humanity Detroit is celebrating 25 years of service. During that time Habitat Detroit has built some 300 new homes and rehabilitated two dozen more. Ford Motor Company Fund began its relationship with Habitat for Humanity in 1992 and the Ford Volunteer Corps continues to build on that commitment today.
"There are few things more satisfying than owning your own home and playing a role in helping to build it with people who care," said Janet Lawson, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. "Ford employees line up throughout the year to put their skills and muscles to work helping people realize the dream of owning their own home."
Over the past five years, 1,700 Ford volunteers put in more than 13,000 hours on 130 plus Habitat for Humanity projects. Ford volunteers participate in the annual Detroit Blitz Builds to reestablish a city neighborhood. Ford volunteers have pre-built frames for new houses, helped raise the walls, lay down the floors and landscape the properties.
Ford volunteers helped construct a delivery platform for donations at the Habitat for Humanity Monroe County ReStore and also worked on house projects with Habitat for Humanity Macomb and Huron Valley.
The work of Ford volunteers stretches far beyond Michigan's borders. Some examples include Ford volunteers last year helping to build a home in Nashville, and three houses for low-income families in Argentina. Ford employee volunteers took part in the NFL Super Build in 2006, building frames that became homes for hurricane survivors along the Gulf Coast. In 2004, Ford joined with Habitat for Humanity International to help rebuild homes in countries affected by the tsunami in Southeast Asia.
"Ford and Habitat have a continuing relationship, so we're able to see the positive change to the neighborhood and the impact on the individual family," said Craig Erzen, Ford senior purchasing manager and Habitat for Humanity volunteer. "The homeowners work with us while we're building their house and when it's time for the dedication, it really tugs at your heart strings."
Erzen was among the dedicated volunteers nominated for the "Habbies" - Habitat Detroit's Volunteer of the Year awards. Ford Motor Company Fund sponsored the 25th Anniversary Gala to celebrate the work of these dedicated volunteers and all who work with Habitat to create a better world.
"Habitat volunteers realize they can really make a difference in people's lives," said Bob Layne, construction director, Habitat for Humanity Detroit. "And Ford really packs a double punch for us. We rely on Ford for financial assistance and for volunteers. They're great people to work with."
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