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Airmen help provide homes for the holidays

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – Curled up by a warm fire with their family and sipping from a piping hot cup of cocoa, they look out the window to see the gentle snow fall lightly across the Black Hills of South Dakota. They laugh, play games and enjoy the holidays from the warmth and safety of their home.

Not everyone has such good fortune and a place to call their own. Without a family or home to go to, some are left outside in the arctic conditions. However, there are those with hearts of gold, volunteering their time to create homes for these individuals and provide them with a gift they can hold onto – the gift of hope.

“Not everybody is as well off or as fortunate as other people,” said Senior Airman Leon Mack, a radar maintainer assigned to the 28th Operations Support Squadron. “They don’t have the same opportunities others have, and some people just need a little help in life.”

Dreaming of a home became reality for a family in need when six Airmen from Ellsworth spent over five hours volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Dec. 10, 2016.

Habitat for Humanity partners with people in communities all over the world to help build or improve a home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

“Getting to see the homeowner invest their own time in it is the most rewarding thing for me,” said Senior Airman Samuel Nelson, a contract administrator assigned to the 28th Contracting Squadron. “I like the way everything is set up. It shows that they want the house and they are putting their own sweat into it, it adds some ownership there.”

The founders of Habitat for Humanity developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses would be built at no profit.

According to Habitat for Humanity, their Mission is to put God’s love into action, bringing people together to build not only homes, but communities and hope as well.

Nelson explained how he and other Ellsworth Airmen volunteer to help fill in empty spaces for when Habitat for Humanity can’t fill the slots themselves. This provides the Rapid City chapter with the extra manpower they need to get the project done on time.

Thanks to the personal involvement of many, the build site locations have grown in number. Habitat now works in 1,400 communities across the United States and in nearly 70 countries, and has helped 6.8 million people achieve strength and stability through safe, affordable shelters.

“I’ve done this for about two years and have probably [built] about 10 or 15 houses now,” Nelson said.

Mack added it’s a rewarding experience for them because they are helping people out and building upon their skills while doing it.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Nelson said. “If you’re just looking to volunteer, help people out or just learn some new skills, then it’s a good place for all of those things.”