Volunteers Apr. 19, 2021

April 18-24, 2021 is National Volunteer Week!

Over the past year, many local Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country had to temporarily close their offices, ReStores and build sites. This meant that while some of our volunteers had to put down their hammers, many others shifted to a world of social distancing and virtual support. This year, more that ever, we thank our volunteers — from coast to coast — for their enduring support during these challenging times, in working with us to help the communities we serve achieve stability and self-reliance through affordable housing.

We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight the efforts of some of the thousands of volunteers who make our work possible. Each volunteer below was nominated by their local Habitat for their contributions on boards, committees, events, at ReStores and on build sites.

Congratulations to each and every one of you for your dedication and commitment to Habitat for Humanity’s work across Canada.

Wade Slowsky
Habitat for Humanity Camrose

Wade is a dedicated and passionate Habitat Camrose ReStore volunteer. Last year, even with the ReStore closed to volunteers for over two months due to COVID-19, Wade logged 1,482 hours. Wade led a much-needed workshop on reorganization and also repairs donated light fixtures and built his own custom stands to safely test ceiling fans and quickly test light bulbs. In addition to this great work, Wade initiated ‘surprise packs,’ bundling previously unsellable small items together in creative mystery packages. A customer favourite, ‘surprise packs’ yielded nearly $1,800 in sales in 2020 and $1,804 already in 2021. We are thankful for Wade’s wonderful contributions to Habitat Camrose.

Terry Quimby
Habitat for Humanity Chatham-Kent

Terry has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Chatham-Kent since 2011. A most loyal and dependable volunteer, over the years she has given her time and energy to many committees and special events. Terry has co-chaired the Volunteer Committee, is a regular cashier at our local ReStore and has been a member of the Family Services Committee for years. Terry is a tireless advocate for Habitat. The greatest gift you can give is your time, and we are beyond grateful for the many years Terry has dedicated to Habitat Chatham-Kent.

Geoff Baxter
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton

Geoff is a friendly, passionate, and generous person who has brought joyful enthusiasm to Habitat for Humanity Edmonton's volunteer sites since 2017. In 2020, Geoff increased his volunteer commitment with Habitat, completing 450+ hours across a variety of volunteer sites. He worked multiple shifts per week at the South ReStore location, joined the landscaping team during landscaping season, and engaged with the Construction Department as a lawn maintenance volunteer. Geoff always goes above and beyond to lend a helping hand, and we are incredibly grateful to have him on our team.

Ron Squires
Habitat for Humanity Fredericton Area

Ron began his journey with Habitat Fredericton Area in 2015. As board chair from 2016-2020, Ron led the transition from a management to an effective governance board.  His leadership also helped take our Habitat Fredericton Area to new levels of performance. Whether he’s serving on our board, assisting on builds or volunteering his time at events, Ron’s contribution to our organization has been invaluable. We are also proud to note that, as a Team Leader for Habitat Canada’s Global Village, Ron led teams to Zambia and Vietnam, and also participated in Global Village builds in Kenya and Bali. We are thankful for Ron’s passion and dedication to Habitat – both locally and globally.

Debbie Choptuik
Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa

Since 2017, Debbie has been an invaluable member of our Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa team. Working as a property manager, she saw how difficult it was to own a home. Now, in working with the Family Partners Committee, Debbie is proud of her work in helping families succeed in their journey to homeownership. At our Greater Ottawa ReStore, Debbie has found a niche in upcycling furniture. Customers love her work, and she loves to give back! Debbie infuses her kindness & personality in everything she does. It is such a pleasure to work with Debbie – the impact of her contributions is immeasurable.

Jim Dymond
Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area

Jim is an incredible and generous volunteer with Habitat for Humanity GTA. He began volunteering with us in 2018, and after a few months, switched volunteer roles to become a crew leader. Since the start of the pandemic, Jim has logged in over 1,034 hours at our Centretown build in Oshawa. He volunteers four days a week at the build site and is always the first person to arrive and setup. Jim assists the site supervisor with the tracking of volunteer hours and always take the time to train our new volunteers. We are very thankful for Jim’s generosity and commitment to our mission.

Sandy Evers
Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington

Sandy has been an integral part of the Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington Fergus ReStore team since 2018. You can find Sandy at the ReStore every Tuesday and Thursday. She has assisted with customer service, and most recently posts product for sale on social media. Sandy enjoys the camaraderie of working with staff and other volunteers and being able to help support the Habitat mission of providing affordable housing in our community. Volunteering is a family affair as her son Thomas and husband Joe join her every week. We are incredibly grateful to have Sandy on our team.

Mike Dybowski
Habitat for Humanity Hamilton

Mike has been working at the Habitat for Humanity Hamilton Restore for over two years. He has a special way of elevating the atmosphere in the ReStore, thanks to his upbeat attitude. Mike provides an exceptional customer service experience. Working as an officer with the Toronto Police Service, Mike cares deeply about his community. So much so, that you will often find him volunteering in the ReStore, even after just completing a night shift. We want to recognize Mike because his commitment goes above and beyond his volunteer job description--and it makes a world of difference.

Victor and Gayle Fairthorne
Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario

Victor and Gayle are a husband-and-wife team who have been volunteering at our Habitat for Humanity Stratford ReStore since 2018. Victor supports the recycling program, helping to divert metal waste from our landfills by ensuring it is responsibly recycled. He also re-purposes scrap metal into art to sell in the ReStores. Gayle provides customer service support. Her friendliness and helpfulness are always valued by the staff and other volunteers. Victor and Gayle’s decision to incorporate Habitat into their family life and contribute their time through the challenges that COVID-19 presents, demonstrates their caring and commitment. We are very appreciative of this dynamic duo.

Jamie Cleaver
Habitat for Humanity Huronia

An exceptional volunteer, Jamie is passionate about her work on the Family Services Committee where she previously served as secretary and now is chair. Jamie’s expertise in Financial Services provides us with sound advice and countless hours assessing family applications with a keen understanding of credit and finances. Her calm and cheerful demeanor and level head is very welcomed when dealing with sensitive information. While Jamie has been hosting the committee virtually during the past year, she also supports Habitat Huronia’s events and auctions, and helps us to spread the word. We are grateful for her commitment to us and our mission.

Mary Friesen
Habitat for Humanity Manitoba

Mary is a retired educator who volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Manitoba because she feels strongly that our mission matches her values and beliefs. She has been instrumental in the phenomenal success of the Meaning of Home contest in Manitoba, with over a decade of service under her belt. Being able to meet with students to celebrate the winners of the contest is very special to Mary. When engaging with children in this context, she says she is reminded of the fact that “children have tremendous abilities to respond to problems and needs in their community”. Mary’s dedication to the program is invaluable. Mary is an integral and beloved member of Habitat Manitoba’s family.  

Joe Pereira
Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island

Joe has been an incredible force for good as a member of the Habitat Nanaimo ReStore team since 2014. He volunteers hundreds of hours of his time year after year; you can find him in the ReStore almost daily. Joe assists in our warehouse – fixing and cleaning donated items and getting them ready for sale. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer, especially throughout the challenges of the pandemic. In 2020 alone, Joe contributed over 400 hours! For the Nanaimo ReStore staff, Joe is more than a volunteer. Joe is a member of our Habitat family, and a tremendous asset to our organization.  

Brian Quinn
Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland and Labrador

Brian began volunteering with us in September 2020 on a renovation project in St. John's, NL. Although he lives an hour outside the city, he has already accumulated more than 100 volunteer hours. Brian has been instrumental to our renovation project, as he is a certified electrician and has been able to arrange all the necessary permits to allow him to work voluntarily onsite. His contribution has saved a substantial amount of money in contractor costs for Habitat Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, Brian supports another volunteer, an electrical apprentice, by signing off on his hours toward his apprenticeship. We are incredibly grateful and lucky to have Brian on our team.

Arien Vlaar
Habitat for Humanity Niagara

Arien is a valued member of the Habitat for Humanity Niagara ReStore family. When our Niagara ReStore was shut down early this year due to COVID, Arien offered to come in and support the store. Arien came in 3-4 days per week to support online shopping for our customers by testing and pricing electrical, tools and hardware. He made sales floor signage and re-merchandised our plumbing/bath department. To provide additional support, he brought items to fellow volunteers’ homes to have them test and price items for the ReStore. Arien’s dedication to our mission helped to drive sales during this shutdown. We are beyond thankful for Arien’s amazing support.

Armin Bergmann
Habitat for Humanity Okanagan

Armin has been a Habitat for Humanity Penticton ReStore volunteer for three years and has put in over 1,500 volunteer hours. Not only does Armin test, clean and display all our lighting, he is also our master builder having created many ReStore projects and is now our lead volunteer for the store’s kitchen salvage program. Armin is a kind and compassionate team player who always greets everyone warmly. Armin’s wife and sister-in-law also volunteer with us, proving that volunteering really is a family affair! We are fortunate to have Armin as part of our Penticton ReStore family; we couldn’t do what we do without him.

Me Mélanie Dubé
Habitat for Humanity Quebec

Mélanie has been the notary for Habitat Québec for many years. Her pro bono support is invaluable and her patient and supportive approach is appreciated by the families we serve.  As first-time homeowners, families consistently comment on her excellent and thorough service. In 2020, despite the pandemic, Mélanie continued to offer her services to Habitat Québec using online platforms which provided the perfect solution for families who were not able to travel to her offices due to the restrictions.  We would like to thank Mélanie for her philanthropic support of Habitat's mission.

Daniel Roberts
Habitat for Humanity Red Deer

In his first year as Habitat for Humanity Red Deer’s Board Chair, Daniel has devoted an incredible 300 volunteer hours throughout 2020. Daniel is a collaborative and results-focused leader who stepped up in various ways to help us through tumultuous times in grappling with pandemic impacts. Daniel co-chaired our COVID 19 Response Committee, formulating strategic responses and cash flow projections to ensure proper oversight. He also spearheaded a detailed, total compensation review for the CEO, currently chairs our HR Committee and is a member of three other board committees. We thank Daniel for three years of tireless, dedicated service to Habitat Red Deer.

Randy Aikens
Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie

Randy is a passionate and dedicated Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie and Area Board Member, since joining in 2016. Randy's 30 years of retail and commercial contractor industry experience has propelled Habitat SSMA to new heights. He has supported Habitat by sitting on various committees, assisting with volunteer recruitment, material donations and land acquisition for builds. In 2020, Randy dedicated his time and expertise to Habitat SSMA's COVID-19 Task Force which navigated our local Habitat successfully through the pandemic. He has masked up for numerous Habitat PR events and has always represented Habitat well. Randy's aid was essential to 2020.

Glen Urquhart
Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan

Glen has been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity’s Saskatchewan 62-unit Haultain Crossing build for years. He volunteers every week assisting in all aspects of the construction. Through rough Saskatchewan winters and even during this past year Glen can be counted on to show up, work hard and be a valuable member of our team. His sense of humor and personality make the site a better place every time he is on it. Partner families often comment on how helpful and patient Glen is when training them to learn new construction skills. He is truly a value to Habitat for Humanity.

Murray Drope
Habitat for Humanity Sunshine Coast

Murray is a star volunteer at the refundable recycling operation in Gibsons, B.C. on the Sunshine Coast. For many years, Murray has worked tirelessly at the Gibson Bottle Depot, visiting the depot more than 10 times per week to keep up with the volume of refundables donated to Habitat. After a work stoppage due to COVID-19 restrictions, Murray returned as soon as he could to support the operation. We are thankful to Murray for his many years of service and thousands upon thousands of dollars of revenue generated towards building homes.    

Dave Keiver
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North

Dave has made a real difference for our build teams and families over the last few years of involvement, showing up as an encouraging and insightful volunteer 2 to 3 days a week. Never shy to take on a new task or create a better process for a familiar one, Dave partners with, and mentors, other volunteers and homeowners to create a site of warmth, inclusion and thoughtfulness. Volunteering over 1,500 hours on seven homes over the last three years, Dave has played a crucial supporting role in helping us adapt to evolving COVID protocols and keeping our build sites rolling during the initial COVID shutdown. We are grateful for Dave's thorough approach and kind-hearted contribution to developing a meaningful community.

Debby Steiner
Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region

Debby is a standout volunteer, showing a willingness to return to our Habitat ReStore in spite of being on the front lines during a pandemic. Debby supports the store and Habitat’s mission in any way she can – cleaning, monitoring the front door and assisting in whatever way she is needed. Her willingness to do whatever is asked of her, along with her reliability, has made her a valued volunteer over the past six years. Debby's sympathetic, compassionate nature makes her someone staff, volunteers and customers enjoy being around. As recently stated by a staff member, Debby is a "good person, both at Habitat and outside," and is an invaluable member of our volunteer community.

Janet Moore
Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex

Joining Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex in 2019, Janet is a ray of sunshine. Her exuberant personality makes her ideal at providing excellent customer service as well as training youth volunteers. The pandemic provided Janet with a new role – her outgoing nature meant every outreach call she made lifted the spirits of volunteers quarantined at home.  Janet has become savvy in a virtual world that previously was unknown to her: she participates in all virtual opportunities, sourced materials during the height of the pandemic for a mask project, and is now an avid advocate and fundraiser. Janet is the perfect mixture of humour and humility. We are thankful for her many contributions to the Habitat Windsor-Essex family.

Marc Caron
Habitat for Humanity Canada Global Village

For the past ten years, Marc has been a tremendous ambassador of Habitat for Humanity’s global work as a Global Village team leader. Marc has generously donated his time to lead volunteer teams and support Habitat’s work in Canada, South America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific region. In addition, Marc has recruited over 100 individuals to volunteer on Global Village builds, introducing new community members to Habitat’s international work. Marc has reached many people with his volunteer work and his kind and giving nature, and we know he will continue to do so for many years to come.