MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. --
Continuing their trend of giving back to the community, on July 20, 2016 members of the 934th Airlift Wing volunteered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
Several members of the wing met at the project site in Bloomington, Minn. where they worked with site supervisor David Michaelson who explained the plan for the day. Michaelson first gave a safety briefing to the volunteer warning of the hot temperatures and then provided a brief background of the house.
This particular project site involved working on a single-story house that is approximately 1,600 square feet with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Work on the home began in June of 2016 and is scheduled to be complete by the end of August.
Before sending the volunteers on their way, Michaelson split the volunteers into two groups who would either start working on the siding of the house or would work on installing soffit and fascia.
Volunteers from the wing really enjoyed their time stepping out of their comfort zone and assisting with the project.
“It was a really great experience being able to contribute with the community,” said Staff Sgt. Larry Baca, a traditional Reservist and volunteer from the 934th Airlift Wing Financial Management Office. “Anytime I can do something that is beyond my normal is really rewarding. I only wish we could have been there a little bit longer but due to the heat index, we were forced to stop just as we were getting the hang of our task.”
According to Michaelson, the house is located on an ‘infill lot’ which is considered an unused and vacant lot that was previously occupied. He also indicated that the city of Bloomington helped Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity acquire the lot in order to build a house that someone will one day own and live in rather than rent.
After working with the organization for more than 14 years, Michaelson really enjoys working with volunteers and providing assistance to so many people.
“I have had a great time helping families become homeowners that wouldn’t be able to become homeowners otherwise without the help of Habitat so it provides a great feeling for me to be able to have a chance to help families out that way,” Michaelson said.
With numerous project taking place within the Twin Cities, it is easy to see that Habitat for Humanity is trying to make a positive difference.
“Habitat for Humanity in general is a fantastic organization and it’s phenomenal to see the good that people in our country are doing,” Baca added. “To see so many volunteer their time and selflessly give back to the community is awesome and it really instills faith back into people.”
The wing was fortunate to come across this opportunity during the June 2016 Base Community Council meeting organized by the 934th Public Affairs office. At this meeting, Steve Solmonson, a retired Air Force major and current financial associate with Thrivent Financial, brought up the idea to the council.
“I met the Vice Wing Commander, Colonel Tim Wollmuth, at the Base Community Council meeting and it was fantastic to be able to talk about this project,” Solmonson explained. “To have him offer to help recruit some of the folks from the base to come out here and then to see some of my fellow brothers and sisters in blue volunteer to come out is great since I was one of them for many years. To be able to come out and help make a difference in the life of a family and provide them with a great home and hopefully a great future as well is incredible.”
Although building the home takes some time, in order to partner with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity to own the home, candidates must meet at least three requirements. These include need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner.
“Need, defined as the family lives in sub-standard housing right now and they can’t afford something better,” Michaelson said.
As far as ability to pay is concerned, because the family is buying the house from habitat for humanity, they have to net enough income in order to be able to afford a no-profit price for a house.
“Willingness to partner includes labor which ranges typically from 300-500 ‘sweat equity hours’ that the partnered owner(s) put in working on their house or another house,” Michaelson added. “Typically that’s how they put in their sweat equity hours and willingness to partner includes being able to work alongside volunteers."