• Sgt. Powers (left), Spc. Andrew Burke and Spc. Jay Pardo (on ladder) strategize their work on the roof of a house during a Habitat for Humanity project. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Roof Work

    Sgt. Powers (left), Spc. Andrew Burke and Spc. Jay Pardo (on ladder) strategize their work on the roof of a house during a Habitat for Humanity project. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • Sgt. Fred Hill helps to secure a board while Sgt. Nicholas Hicks operates a power saw. They and eight other Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade aided Habitat for Humanity in building houses in southwest San Antonio Sept. 23. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Power Saw

    Sgt. Fred Hill helps to secure a board while Sgt. Nicholas Hicks operates a power saw. They and eight other Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade aided Habitat for Humanity in building houses in southwest San Antonio Sept. 23. (U.S...

  • Sgt. Derek Jones drives in a nail to reinforce a wall frame. He and nine other Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade helped to build houses in southwest San Antonio Sept. 23 in support of Habitat for Humanity. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Driving a Nail Home

    Sgt. Derek Jones drives in a nail to reinforce a wall frame. He and nine other Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade helped to build houses in southwest San Antonio Sept. 23 in support of Habitat for Humanity. (U.S. Army photo by...

Ten Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade swapped their soft caps for hard hats for a day to help some people have a house in which to live.

These volunteers, from the brigade's headquarters and headquarters detachment and its 401st MI Company on Fort Sam Houston, normally operate computers and communication equipment, but on Sept. 23 they wielded hammers, saws and paint brushes to assist Habitat for Humanity in a new housing subdivision in southwest San Antonio. The organization builds "simple, decent and affordable" houses using donated materials and volunteer labor and sells them to qualifying families at no profit.

The brigade members volunteered as part of BOSS, which stands for Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. Sgt. Timothy Powers, the brigade's BOSS representative, explained that BOSS focuses on quality of life issues and recreational activities as well community service.

"Actually, I have very little experience doing this type of work," said Sgt. Nicholas Hicks. "But I've done BOSS volunteer work before and always have a fun time."

To start before temperatures rose, the volunteers arrived early on the site. There they were assigned to one of two house leaders, who each led a team working on a specific house. Pete Garza, house leader for one of the sites, said he tries to find a job with which each person feels comfortable. His team consisted of UPS employees along with the Soldiers. Even members of the family who plan to live in the house were there. Brigade Soldiers at this site cut lumber and erected the framework for the walls of the house.

"I have watched shows and thought it would be great to build a house," said Sgt. Derek Jones in between pounding nails. "This is my first time. Now I hope to do it often."

The house where Powers worked was farther along in its stage of construction. He and two other Soldiers from the brigade worked on the roof.

"We'll probably do it again in a month," said Powers.

Page last updated Thu September 29th, 2011 at 12:36