MANCHESTER — Ten strangers from all over the country traveled to Vermont this week to voluntarily assist in the construction of a Bennington County Habitat for Humanity home on Jennifer Lane.
A majority of the Global Village team has never been this far north or has little experience with construction. Even the team leader, John Dickerson and his girlfriend are from Texas and they've only traveled as far as New York.
He explained that there's a website volunteers can choose build trips from, just as he can choose what trip he wants to lead. Dickerson has volunteered on four operations and led two. Most were international trips and this is his first domestic (inside the U.S.).
"Everybody that applied — for one reason or another — they were interested in doing Vermont specifically," Dickerson said. "I was hoping for some more fall colors. I like traveling in the fall because the weather has changed. It's better for working."
Global Village fundraised $8,000 for the local habitat affiliate, according to Executive Director Susan Sommer, on top of donating their time. The group aims to provide a cultural and educational experience on poverty housing and development challenges that Habitat for Humanity attempts to eradicate, according to its website. Fees to take part in a build trip include a donation to habitat's mission, in addition to fundraising events.
The team's tasks include putting on soffit, the side panels and finishing the windows and doors.
Becky Spring was attaching soffit sheets on an overhang with another individual. She hails from Albuquerque, N.M. and said she decided to take vacation time from being a nurse practitioner. Her brother-in-law works at Lowes, which is a corporate sponsor for Habitat for Humanity. Between exposure through him and the internet, she discovered the volunteer opportunity.
"Just home improvement," Spring said regarding her construction experience. "I'm having a great time. It's fun and very well organized."
Mike Bruder agreed. He said the chapter is treating the team nicely and had dinner prepared for them when they arrived Sunday evening.
Bruder works as an architecture at a university that he graduated from in Kent, O.H. He volunteers at his local chapter once a month and started when a group of alumni from the university put on a day of service. He chose to build.
The affiliate has plans to set up a dinner with the homeowner so she can meet the Global Village team.
"It feels good to do something for other people. Do my small part to make the world a better place," he said.
The team members signed the inside of a doorway with their names and state they're from.
For more information visit habitat.org/gv.
Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.