Habitat for Humanity honors frontline workers

Published 8:06 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

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Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads held its Frontline Heroes Build Week Oct. 11-15 at a new construction site in Suffolk.

During this week, various groups of frontline workers were recognized each day as they helped with the building process. Military and veterans were recognized on Monday, law enforcement on Tuesday, firefighters on Wednesday, health care workers and EMS on Thursday and essential workers on Friday.

During the week, the various groups made progress on the house, including framing, roof and weather protection. The home is projected to be ready by the new year.

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“There’s been very helpful and hard workers this week,” said Maya Billins, donation coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. “There’s a big difference between the end and the beginning of this week. We’re very thankful for what they’ve done.”

The purpose of Frontline Heroes Build Week is to honor and recognize the workers for the sacrifices they make every day for their community, especially during this time of COVID-19.

Shaquita Outlaw will be the new homeowner. Outlaw is a single mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5, and recently gained custody of her 2-year-old sister. Having grown up in the neighborhood, this new home will give her a homecoming to a safe and affordable dwelling.

“It’s a blessing,” said Valerie Roberts, Outlaw’s grandmother. “Blessing comes in all forms, and this is one of them. She does so much for people, and she works so hard. I just want to thank everyone for doing what they do and giving her this opportunity.”

The week had numerous sponsors who support Habitat for Humanity and its mission to better the lives of the communities they enter. The main sponsor for the week was STIHL Inc., which donated work gloves and other protective equipment for those working on the house.

Another sponsor was JES Foundations Repair, who also sent employees to help with the build during essential workers day on Friday.

“We are so proud to be a part of the Frontline Heroes Build Week and specifically to be able to sponsor today’s Essential Worker Day,” said Brian Spurgeon of Groundworks, the parent company of JES Foundations Repair. “As a local business made up of essential workers, this opportunity is a great way for us to not only honor all essential workers and the work they do for the community but also to give back to a deserving family in need. We are tremendously honored to help build what will be this family’s most essential asset, their home.”

ADS Inc. sponsored Tuesday’s law enforcement day, as the company actively supports military and law enforcement officers as they make military gear and tactical equipment.

“This is my third build with Habitat for Humanity under ADS,” said Quawnishia Morgan of ADS Inc. “It’s amazing especially when this lines up with what ADS supports with giving back to the community.”

According to Dan Leer, director of development and communications for Habitat for Humanity, building this home was a victory for the city and the neighborhood. About 15 months ago, heavy rain and a nor’easter uprooted a huge pecan tree in the backyard that demolished the house. The homeowner ended up donating the lot to Habitat for Humanity, and as a result, the organization got a lot for a new home for a much lower price than usual.

“The neighbors are very excited to have a new house on the street,” said Leer. “The city and the owner are delighted to have it taken care of, too. It’s a win-win.”