Habitat can become a good habit

Published 7:38 am Monday, March 10, 2008

By Staff
Helen Reynolds told me about an addiction last week. It's not the kind of addiction that usually pops into your head when you hear that word, but it's an addiction of the best kind.
On Saturday, Feb. 29 I showed up at the Habitat building site on Brandenburg Street in East Brewton. I was there to do a job. It wasn't my turn to do any hammering that day. I was there to take pictures for the newspaper and cover the beginning of the build to be completed in a week.
Between the time I arrived and the time to start the project, I was lucky enough to talk with some volunteers who had shown up to do the hammering. Helen Reynolds was just one of the people I talked with for a few minutes.
When I asked her why she volunteered, she gave an answer I didn't quite grasp until Wednesday. She told me she volunteered once and became addicted to helping others. She has volunteered on several projects and was involved in her fifth house-building with Habitat. I could tell she was excited to be in on another Habitat project. She was so excited she could hardly get her tool belt on quickly enough.
I didn't quite understand what she meant. I have been moved to tears on many occasions as Habitat homes are built and dedicated. Having taken pictures at a couple of dedication services, I've had a hard time focusing through the view finder of the camera because of the tears filling my eyes. (If you've never been to a dedication ceremony, I urge you to attend one the next chance you get.)
Wednesday, Lydia, Marilyn and I headed over to the Habitat site in East Brewton to offer whatever help we could give to move forward with the project.
Words cannot describe the feelings that welled up inside me as I walked onto the site that morning. Yes, I had been to the site on Saturday's kick-off, but because I was there as a photographer and not a volunteer, the feelings were different.
On Saturday, I cried because I saw how excited the Woods family was about seeing the start of their new home. On Wednesday, I cried a different type of tears.
I like to think of my self as a helpful person. I have plucked items from high shelves in grocery stores for a customer shopping in a wheelchair. I have helped someone get a car started in a parking lot. I have given directions to people who were lost. I've even taken a stranger to the hospital to one of their relatives. But I've never been involved in helping someone have a nice home.
Although the Woods family will be repaying a no-interest loan for their house, the amount of money they have to repay won't include costs for labor. All of the labor was donated by nearly 400 people, at last count. Those people, including myself, are probably now addicted to building houses for Habitat.
Addiction, in most cases, can be a bad thing. But, the addiction to volunteering or helping others is one addiction I don't want to beat.
Lisa Tindell is news editor of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.

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