Habitat for Humanity’s 2015 Home Builder Blitz helped more than 200 families with building, rehabilitating or repairing houses across the U.S. On June 8, on behalf of SFI, I was privileged to be part of the Builder Blitz in Sanford, Florida.
SFI has worked closely with Habitat since 2008 in both the U.S. and Canada. Supporting the Home Builder Blitz is just another way that SFI shows its support for this great organization. SFI also supports numerous builds and initiatives across the U.S. and Canada to improve the quality of life for many underserved communities.
When I arrived on site at the kickoff build for the Builder Blitz, I was greeted by Rob Smith, the President of E2 Homes. As a sponsor, I was pleasantly surprised to see lumber certified to SFI in the back of his pickup truck. I asked Rob if he did that for my benefit.
”Absolutely not,” said Rob. He went on to say that he uses a lot of lumber certified to SFI in his builds. Rob is a passionate green builder and no stranger to SFI certification and the environmental benefits of using certified wood products.
There was definitely a lot of emotion in the air during the various speeches that kicked off the build, including one from TV host Steve Thomas from This Old House. Perhaps the most emotional moment happened when new homeowner, Clarence Grayson, declared that in 60 years he has never owned his own home but now all that was about to change.
My colleague, Barry Graden, Director of the SFI Forest Partners Program had a similar experience at the Nashville Builder Blitz.
“The program was very moving, especially when Tom Gipson, who created the Home Builder Blitz talked about two Tennessee families who were present and how they represented the American Dream, which includes the dream to own a home. He also gave a lot of credit to the builders who, since the Blitz began, have stepped up in very big ways to make it a huge success,” said Barry.
As with all Habitat builds, one of the main highlights was the wall-raising. I was invited to help raise the first wall of the home. After the ceremony, we visited a couple of current habitat build projects, and when we returned to the house about three hours later, the builders already had the roof trusses installed and were about to start the shingles — amazingly, these Habitat homes are built in just one week. It was great to see wood from responsibly managed forests used to build Clarence’s new home.
To hear Clarence describe what his new home means to him watch this WFTV news clip.