By Suzanne Ovel (Army Medicine)July 13, 2010
TACOMA, Wash. - Soldiers picked up hammers and paintbrushes to help build five homes for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity Families in east Tacoma June 23 to 25.
About 30 Soldiers and staff volunteered for the Warrior Transition Battalion's second annual build to contribute to affordable housing for local Families in need.
"I volunteered to help the community; it's all about karma," said Sgt. Bryan Stavis, a Warrior with Bravo Company.
"I think everyone should do their part to help the community out in one way or another."
Stavis, who's volunteered with Habitat twice before, worked all three days to help the local chapter make their goal of building up to 20 homes this year.
The houses are sold to families in need at no profit and with zero interest charged.
The WTB crew pushed progress along in the 10-home community by working on foundation, painting, roofing and other projects; many discovered new skills.
Sgt. Ed Brock, a Warrior with B Co., learned to put up siding for the first time.
Although Brock has knee and back injuries, he nonetheless volunteered to help out others.
"I still can do things. It gets me up and moving around, not sitting and dwelling on the injuries I have," said Brock, who noted he also volunteered to "just to try to help out people who are less fortunate."
As is Habitat for Humanity tradition, those Brock was helping out were also helping themselves.
Deneen Price, a single parent raising four younger children, worked with the crew to put up siding on her home, while Joseph Tran helped roof a future neighbor's home while also working on his own foundation.
Tran is also working two part-time jobs and, with his wife, is caring for five sons.
Literally building a community together is at the core of the organization, and is one of the key reasons the WTB got involved with the build.
"I got a sense of teamwork, just to see everyone come together today," said Stavis, who also learned from tenured workers. "It makes me feel good about myself."
Working behind the scenes to plan the build were the battalion's VetCorps members Tom Curcio and Steve Killian.
Killian, a retired Soldier and an experienced construction worker, also has a history of volunteering with Habitat.
"I get a warm and fuzzy feeling just giving back, and it's all worthwhile just knowing it's going to needy Families, and to see the Soldiers, even though they're hurting, giving back," he said