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Senior Volunteers

Building homes, hope and community

Though volunteer opportunities are on hold, we look forward to the day when we can all get back to work serving our community, building affordable houses and providing low-income families an opportunity to build brighter futures through home ownership.

During this time of social distancing, below are a couple of personal stories to help us all stay connected. And in honor of Older Americans Month we are putting the spotlight on two very special senior volunteers who have given so much to Habitat.

Les and Ron are shining examples of volunteers who have made a positive, long term impact on the lives of so many families. We are grateful for their service, their commitment and their friendship.

Les Anderson Habitat volunteer
Les and D’Ann during a Habitat Raising the Roof Breakfast. These two have given so much time over the years and their generosity has helped many families find safe, decent, affordable home ownership.

Les on how he came to be part of the Habitat team

In the late 1990’s I became aware of Habitat for Humanity activities in Albuquerque and nationally through friends and members of my church – such as Dave Ericson and Irv Hall. I began to make small donations and attend home dedication ceremonies.

Then, in late 2002 I attended a presentation by Millard Fuller and was impressed by his story of the need for homes both locally and worldwide and decided to do more. In 2003 I joined the Cornerstone Club where we each pledged a dollar amount a year for 3 years.  About the same time I helped man the Habitat for Humanity Booth at the Fair Grounds for various building exhibitions.

Then Irv Hall invited me to join him and others to volunteer at the build sites and under the leadership of Duane Hughes we became known as the SWAT (Special Work Assignment Team).  Since I was already involved in rebuilding and donating computers to children’s groups I began providing a computer and printer to each Habitat family during the dedication ceremonies.

I am still part of the SWAT group, although at my age not as active as before but I feel blessed to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity team.


Ron Habitat volunteer
Ron and Faye presenting a hammer to a new home owner during a Habitat home dedication. Thank you both for your dedication and years of commitment to helping our community and transforming lives.

Ron’s story about volunteering and making a difference

I have been volunteering in one form or another since I was a Boy Scout in Wisconsin 65 or so years ago.  I worked on Habitat houses first through my church, and then through Sandia National Labs when it was supporting one home per year.  I used to strongly encourage the organization I headed to participate in the Sandia builds, and always participated myself.

Around 2006 or so, Duane Hughes, a colleague at Sandia and the man who originated the idea of SWAT (Special Work Assignment Team), approached me about becoming a regular volunteer after my retirement.  And I did.  I retired in 2007 and have been a fairly regular SWAT participant ever since.

I have long since lost track of how many homes I have worked on, but I know it is over 60.  SWAT work provides many rewards including the joy of physical work after many years behind a desk, learning a huge amount about home construction practices and techniques, and the two most important benefits:  The many friends I have made and worked with on SWAT; and the joy expressed by the families for whom we have provided nice, affordable housing.

For those families, we have altered the arc of history they were traveling for the better, and there is no reward greater than knowing we did so.



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