Fort Rucker civilian wins state HH award
August 3, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- One of Fort Rucker’s own won the Volunteer of the Year award at the Alabama Association of Habitat Affiliate Awards luncheon in Montgomery last month.
Hector Cardona, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security airspace management division and Coffee County Habitat for Humanity board member, received the award as one of 10 recognized winners. He won the award for the Coffee County chapter.
“I just enjoy helping people and being able to see my finished work on a regular basis,” Cardona said. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”
Cardona has worked with the CCHH since 2006 after reading about the organization in a local newspaper. He said the work the organization does helps those who are less fortunate have a place to live.
“By helping to provide a decent place to live for a family, you help change not only their lives but also the lives of all the volunteers involved,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of 10 different building projects since I started helping.”
Charlene Goolsby, CCHH president, said Cardona has been an invaluable part of the CCHH team and is someone she’s happy to work with on every project.
“He’s one of the most admirable and committed people we have as a volunteer,” she said. “When he makes a commitment, he follows through with it. We all benefit from his energy and dedication.”
Cardona said the number of projects CCHH has planned went up dramatically after the March 2007 tornado. Many Families lost their homes in the disaster and he’s been part of several projects meant to help those affected by the event.
“After the tornado, we did about six houses,” he said. “It was a lot of work, but we had a lot of resources and a lot of people willing to help.”
The amount of work as a result of the 2007 tornado continues to this day, Cardona added. The group plans to begin construction on two new projects in the next month. It takes approximately four months to complete a house, but it can be done faster if enough volunteers participate.
“I enjoy seeing the community coming together; Fort Rucker Soldiers and especially the youth of the Wiregrass participate in different aspects of building a Habitat home,” he said.
Contrary to popular belief, Habitat for Humanity homes are not “free,” Cardona said.
“The materials are donated and we do fundraisers to help get supplies and builders, but the Family does have to be able to pay for a mortgage,” he said.
According to the CCHH brochure, the group builds “quality, energy efficient homes in partnership with low income Families who live in substandard or otherwise unsuitable conditions and who don’t qualify for any other type of home loan. Once finished, the homes are sold to the partner Families at no profit with a no-interest mortgage. House mortgage payments go into an account that is used to build more Habitat homes.”