Albany Marines aid Habitat for Humanity
By Sgt. Pamela A. Shelley
| | August 19, 2005
1ST MARINE CORPS DISTRICT, RS ALBANY --
Whether overseas or at home, Marines providing humanitarian assistance to a community remains an integral part of Military Operations Other Than War.
In keeping with this principle, Marines from Recruiting Station Albany aid their community by building houses with their local Habitat for Humanity project.
From shoveling dirt to installing dry wall, the support-billet Marines here visit the job site every month and have thus far facilitated in building five houses in the Albany area – to include the one-thousandth house in New York State.
The RS executive officer, Capt. Michael E. Dwyer, designed the project in March 2005 to provide a way for the Headquarters personnel to give back to the community in which they reside. However, for the participating Marines, the project provides many more rewards previously unforeseen.
“There is such a sense of self-pride when you look at the completed houses,” said Master Sgt. Michael A. Sturgess, the supply chief here. “You see the families living in them and you know, that even if you only helped build the back deck, you made a difference in their lives. That’s what makes it all worth while.”
According to Capital District Habitat for Humanity website, the Albany affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is a non for profit membership organization created in 1988 to provide home ownership opportunities in partnership with low income households. Since then, they have completed 29 homes to date with the effort and support of individual volunteers, corporations, foundations, community leaders and religious organizations.
Richard Stone is the project manager for the CDHH and acredits that at least ninety percent of the work on the houses is completed by the volunteers who show up day after day.
“Habitat couldn’t have built these houses without our volunteers and the Marines have become some of our most effective volunteers. They’ve had some of our toughest jobs and made them look easy,” said Stone. “If we had a lot more Marines, we’d have a lot more houses,” he said.
Five more houses our currently in the beginning phases of construction, and the RS Albany Marines plan to stick around to help see them through to completion.
“The original concept of this idea was just to provide a way for the community tosee our local Marines in action and acknowledge that there was a Marine presence among them,” said Dwyer. “However, now it’s turned into so much more for these Marines. They come back from their projects covered in dirt and paint, but with a sense of accomplishment surrounding them. They’re developing their carpentry and building skills, and also developing a respect for the town and people they’re trying to help.”
If you would like to find out more about Habitat for Humanity International, visit www.habitat.org