Merrimack Valley Habitat hosts Volunteer Appreciation Event
Volunteers, Supporters and Business Leaders are recognized during appreciation dinner.
By Jacques Du Preez, Neighbor
Nov 4, 2019 11:25 am ET | Updated Nov 8, 2019 9:59 am ET
Lawrence, MA – On Saturday, November 1, 2019 Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity hosted our volunteer appreciation dinner. This annual event recognizes dedicated volunteers, supporters, board members and business leaders who have contributed time towards building affordable housing for local families in need.
Volunteers are the foundation of our organization and during our 2018/2019 fiscal year, 1267 dedicated individuals contributed over 33,000 hours towards our mission. The value of these hours equates to approximately $843,000 in savings, which under normal circumstances would have been paid to construction companies and experts in the building process. Since our founding almost 35 years ago, in 1985, volunteers have contributed upwards of 660,000 hours to our mission. These numbers round out to cost savings of over $16 Million for the affiliate, which also translates to direct savings for Habitat families.
Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity staff and members of the board were joined by 100 of our most regular volunteers, at the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence, for a celebratory night of recognition. Awards were presented to volunteers who have contributed 500 or more hours over the previous year. Awards were also presented for 400, 300, 200 and 100 hours contributed. All in all, 59 of these awards were handed out.
Two of our volunteers, who work for, or own local businesses, and who made a contribution, that resulted in significant cost savings, each received a “Golden Hammer” award. We are very grateful to Brian Brown from SPS Solutions, and Bob Williams who owns Star Construction, for their contribution!
Meegan O’Neil, our Executive Director points out that “It is only through the generous donation of volunteer time and talent, that we are able to build safe, decent and affordable homes for local families throughout the Merrimack Valley.” “It takes a village to build a home, not to mention building multiple homes at a time, and we are extremely lucky to have that village of dedicated individuals who come out and build with us on a weekly basis.”
“Golden House Pins” were awarded to five volunteers who demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the affiliate over the last fiscal year. Congratulations to Jerry Rybicki, Sonia Kwon, Harvey Card, Art Tucker and Bob Genier who were all awarded a Golden House pin. You will almost certainly find these five dedicated individuals at one of our building sites, or ReStore, 2-3 days a week.
Our most notable award, the “Margot Bixby leadership award” was presented to Stuart Johnson. We want to give a big thank you and congratulations to Stuart Johnson who is a volunteer member of our Board of Directors, on numerous committees, and joins us to build in Salisbury a number of times a week. He has had a tremendous impact on the affiliate’s ability to bring building projects to a close through quiet leadership, both on the site and off. This leadership and personal commitment exemplify the values of our founder Margot Bixby and the spirit of the leadership award we bestowed to Stuart.