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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Single Marine Program lends helping hand

By | | September 30, 2002

After a long day of hard work, most people want to relax in a nice home. Owning a home has been a part of the American dream, but many people do not have that opportunity due of circumstances beyond their control.

Rain from Tropical Storm Isidore drenched much of the southern United States during the latter part of the week. But inclement weather could not stop 10 leathernecks of the Single Marine Program from helping those in the community. The 10 Marines spent Sept. 26 helping the Flint River Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing for a family who could not otherwise afford their own home.

The group of Marine volunteers spent the day building the framework for what would eventually be a home. Some Marines were fit for certain jobs, such as Lance Cpl. William Davy, computer repair technician here, who showed his proficiency with saws by sawing wooden beams to the right dimensions to form the frame. Davy's excitement at being able to use heavy machinery was contagious, and fellow Marines became equally eager to do their part.

While Davy sawed, others hammered nails. Each person had a vital role in the day's work. Sgt. Kia Hicks, chaplain assistant here, was in charge of making everyone aware of which side of each beam belonged on the inside of the house. The construction area, littered with nails, tools, and other construction supplies and equipment, was full of motivated Marines determined to do everything possible to help.

Many of the Marines empathized with people not having what they need. Hicks said she knows how it feels to be in tough circumstances with no money.

"Everyone has been in a spot in their life where they needed help from others," said Hicks, who was not afraid to admit that many people have helped her in life. "I don't think anybody can claim they have not needed help at one time or another.

"I have been blessed in my life," said Hicks, who now feels it is important to give back to the community.

Other Marines, such as Sgt. Eric Blue, a motor transport operator here, simply enjoyed the chance to work outdoors. Blue said that even though Marines are known to lend a helping hand, volunteering and taking care of others is simply part of being a good person.

Other Habitat for Humanity volunteers appreciated the extra help from the Albany Marines, said Todd Shufflebarger, a construction manager with the organization.

"The Marines help out pretty frequently, and I believe they truly do their share," said Shufflebarger, who expressed interest in continuing the growing participation of volunteerism with Habitat.

According to Shufflebarger, the number of Habitat for Humanity volunteers has increased dramatically since the tragic of events of Sept. 11, 2001. He believes those events rallied a majority in the community to help others. He said Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers, and that the experience that comes from helping others is priceless.

"To see the smiles on expressions of homeowners' faces makes you want to come out and help," said Shufflebarger. "It is just an amazing experience."

Some of the Marines returned to join 60 volunteers from Andrew College in finishing the framework. Volunteers will eventually complete the framework, walls and roof in preparation for a "24-hour build." The "24-hour build" involves volunteers spending 24 hours completing the home and final touches, so a homeowner can move in.

Habitat for Humanity, which was established by former President Jimmy Carter in 1976, has built more than 100,000 homes in more than 60 countries, including more than 30,000 houses in the United States.

After a hard day's work, the Marines looked forward a night of liberty. They will volunteer again the next time they get a call to help those who need it.