What did you do all day? What was it like? For years, David Ortiz had asked his Infor colleagues for details after a Habitat for Humanity build day.
"You know," they'd say, "You pound nails in, and haul building materials around the site."
"I was pretty sure there was more to the volunteer experience than an excuse to exchange office hours for "you get dirty, and you paint or help push walls up," said Ortiz, a Finance Department incentive compensation analyst.
Now, after working on his first ever Habitat build, he reports: "I can truly say this was a unique and learning addition to the memory book. And I can see why the experience is hard to describe, and hearsay does not do it justice. What is hard to describe is the feeling it gives you. Yes, you pound nails, but it's more about what you learn; it's the feeling of helping as a team, pounding away as someone next to you is also pounding those nails."
Fourteen Infor volunteers spent Sept 29 working on a Habitat for Humanity North Central Georgia house for a mother and three children in Cumming, Georgia.
Here's Ortiz the newbie's story:
When we arrived, we were briefed on the plans for the day. Then those who had experience started moving, and those who didn't started asking questions.
Most people have seen a house under construction, but not many can say they helped put the 'bones' on a house.
The team leaders guided us on where to place the trusses, and how far apart to space them, and where to pound nails in. Sometimes it felt like there were too many hands for a project, so we would move to the next where something needed to be done. Some moved trusses and nailed them, others moved equipment, and others moved dirt. It was harmonious seeing everyone moving with a purpose.
Although there was no before/after picture, in just the few hours we all were there, the place definitely changed face. Toward the last quarter of the day, my favorite moment came when it was time to build the scaffolding for the next set of volunteers to build the second floor. We were all-hands-on-deck, and like army ants, we volunteers were moving around metal pipes and planks at a steady pace that soon gave rise to a three-stage scaffold surrounding the house.
One of the Habitat guys even commended us, saying, 'I have paid guys to do this, and they did it neither as fast nor as efficiently as you guys.'
As the close of day, all our hard work was clearly visible. The high-fives given. The group photos taken. The weary satisfaction settling in.
With great gratitude, I look forward to doing it again with y'all next year.