When you think of Habitat for Humanity volunteers, what image comes to mind? A smiling face with a hard hat on their head and tool belt around their waist? Someone working a table saw or cutting lumber to build sustainable homes? Those are all true, but what you might not be familiar with are those volunteers who work behind-the-scenes to make everything possible.
That’s where Stuart comes in. Instead of swinging hammers and framing walls, he plays a unique role within the inner workings of Habitat. Every week offers new opportunities. From managing the logistics of construction inventory to organizing the Habitat for Humanity ReStore warehouse and more. Stuart is integral to our evolution as we ramp up our home construction efforts while maintaining a green building model. With Stuart, everything has its place.
“I’m like the Marie Kondo of storage,” he says, laughing. “But it’s not a matter of ‘Does this bring me joy?’ It’s ‘Are we actually going to use this?’
When tools or building materials are no longer needed, Stuart donates them to the ReStore where Habitat’s sustainability expands even further. Not only are these donations avoiding the landfill while being reused, the funds raised at the ReStore go right back into building more affordable and energy-efficient homes throughout the Portland Metro region.
All of this is in part due to Stuart’s hands-on dedication. He’s always ready to lend a hand and put his problem-solving skills to work ever since he began volunteering with us years ago as a newly-retired software engineer.
“It’s the people here that keep me coming back,” he says. “I get to interact with a lot of different staff and volunteers and see where I can be helpful.”
Sometimes he even gets to go off grid and impact the people he built connections with at Habitat in new ways. After finding out that our Assistant Site Supervisor Nathan was interested in beekeeping, Stuart gave him all the equipment he needed to start his own bee colony. It was a small gesture with a huge impact–much like his day-to-day projects that start small and have rippling effects throughout the organization. While his hard work may be invisible to the public eye, evidence of his dedication to our mission and spirit of volunteerism can be found at all corners of Habitat’s reach. No hard hat or tool belt required.