“I just want to do something to ‘give back’.” As you might expect, in a volunteer center this is a phrase we hear over and over. We heard it again today, and it was astonishing and humbling.
Today is Veterans Day. It’s a day to honor all of our veterans and to thank our active duty military – our future veterans for their service to our country. Today more than 40 First Coast volunteers, predominately military men and women, turned out to volunteer for 2 Habitat for Humanity projects. It was their day off – their day to be honored, yet they chose to serve our community. When asked why they gave up their day off, these heroes who have set aside their own life-agendas to serve our country said simply “I just want to give back”. Humbling.
On this beautiful Thursday morning, one group of volunteers mobilized at the Hayward Estates subdivision off of Mayport Road to work with Beaches Habitat for Humanity. They worked on four different homes in the neighborhood doing work that ranged from cleaning out construction debris to hanging windows.
Jake Robinson, an Aviations Tech has only been stationed in Jacksonville since August, but wanted to get out and do something in the community. Today he installed siding – something a bit different from his day-job. He enjoyed the feeling of making a difference and said “A lot of people complain, but aren’t willing to help. I think volunteering is a good opportunity to be a part of the solution.”
Electronics Technician, Victor Walker has been stationed in Jacksonville for two years. He volunteers at his children’s schools and enjoys reading to kids. He found today’s experience especially rewarding because “you get to see the work you’re doing with your hands come together to help families realize their dreams.”
Another group of volunteers gathered at the Habijax office in Springfield to paint the exterior of one of the old homes on Hubbard Street. Their win-win goal is to restore existing homes to help their clients realize their dreams of home ownership while at the same time revitalizing neighborhoods.
Senator George LeMieux stopped by to pay honor to our veterans and active military and tried his hand at painting. He spoke of the important work organizations like HandsOn Jacksonville and Habitat for Humanity are doing to help people in the community.
Today’s projects were done in partnership Mission Serve, an organization that was established in 2009 to help us celebrate our veterans and service members who embody the incredible spirit of service this country thrives on. We helped connect civilian and military communities through service and volunteer partnerships, in one of 24 signature events across the nation.
We thank the men and women who have served and are serving our country and the many volunteers for their acts of service to improve our community.