Habitat for Humanity recognizes its top volunteers
Newberg Habitat for Humanity honored Norm Daviess and Dennis Creigh as volunteers of the year at its annual volunteer appreciation event in February.
Habitat chose the awardees based on the amount of hours they worked in a year. In 2017, more than 11,252 hours was donated by volunteers from nearly 375 individuals.
Daviess, 70, was lauded because he volunteered more than 240 hours in 2017 at the organization's new ReStore on Fridays and at housing construction sites on Thursdays. He started volunteering with Habitat in New Mexico in 2000 and moved to Newberg two-and-a-half years ago and decided to continue to volunteer after his arrival.
"It feels good to give back. It's just the right thing to do," he said, explaining his regular schedule. "Normally I work on Thursdays at the build site (with) about 10 other guys -- old timers. On Thursdays we are building the houses, right now we're on Eighth Street. This will be the fourth house I've worked on. We work on foundations, work on the walls -- right now we are putting the roof up, even in the rain."
When Daviess was asked how it felt to watch the keys of the finished homes handed over to the new owners, he went quiet for a moment in an attempt to compose the emotions that arose and then said, "It's great! Especially for the kids, they have a safe place to be. There's nothing like it."
"Norm is on our Thursday VIP crew. Most are retired guys that come out every week on Thursdays, but some are not. He is on the build site so whatever construction that is going on he works on and he also volunteers at the ReStore so he has his hands in both pots," volunteer coordinator Erika Pagel said.
Creigh volunteered 277 hours in 2017.
"Dennis Creigh, he is an amazing guy and is a quiet soul, but he's got a lot of depth to him," Pagel said. "He volunteers at the ReStore and he is our Mr. Fix it. You hand him something that needs repair and it's like his brain just sees the inner workings and he just fixes it."
Habitat added a new type of award this year called "Hearts of Habitat," that recognized volunteers at the ReStore and the building sites. The ReStore award went to Paula Kriz and the build site award went to Joe Hill.
"We brainstormed with staff to try to think of what else can we do because all these people are just amazing and (recognize) those who didn't quite get as many hours," Pagel said. "So we came up with the Heart of Habitat award. Kriz and Hill both embody the values and the mantra for Habitat for Humanity. To eliminate substandard housing and to give to your fellow man and they truly embody everything that Habitat stands for. We were thrilled to give them that award."
One of the landmarks that prompted extra volunteer hours for Habitat in 2017 was moving the ReStore from its old location on Main Street to the new located on Meridian Street. Volunteers from all over the community pitched in to help with the move.
"When we let out our war cry for the ReStore that had to be moved, we had volunteers from the community that said, 'We have time to give!' And so they were at the ReStore helping to unpack or helping pack, lifting furniture out of the truck. It truly was a community effort to get that store moved," Pagel said. "We call it our crown jewel because we use the proceeds from the ReStore to go into our rebuilding projects. It is incredible that we can be open for only two days a week and raise enough money to build homes."
Executive Director Rick Rogers was effusive in his praise for the cadre of people that make Habitat hum as an organization.
"Our volunteers are selfless and incredibly generous," he said. "As a volunteer-driven local nonprofit we cannot do what we do without the generosity of people like Dennis and Norm and all of our volunteers. Every year we count on over 350 individual volunteers to build decent, safe, affordable homes with those in need in our community."