Day 27: Team

Habitat for Humanity projects necessitate team work! While I have participated in various projects in NYS and AZ, my most recent project was in Poland, yes the country of Poland! A group of us from central Arizona traveled to Gliwice, a town north of Krakow, Poland. For 5 days we worked on an old building needing renovation for future use as a center for young people with addictions.

Half of the volunteers chose plastering work. The others, myself included, chose to pull up the flooring in each room. We discovered linoleum on top of another layer of linoleum which was on top of some very old wooden boards. Under those boards we found chunks of wood holding the floor beams apart and dirt… all needing to be removed! This work REQUIRED a team of people to even make a dent in the overall project.

Crowbars, muscle, sweat, hammers, shovels, brooms, and more muscle and sweat from everyone at work! It was back-breaking work, but we looked after each other as we tried to rotate some of the jobs around and took time for water breaks, snacks, and a walk to an ice cream/bakery place in the local area. Lunch was provided each day with a wonderful opportunity to sit down and time to see the other team members and their plastering work. Amazing … another example of great team work!

This project will not be entirely finished for some time as there is plenty of work to be done, but it will get done with more teams coming in to help. Kudos to Habitat for Humanity – Poland for the work they are doing! Their team is the best. They made our stay enjoyable as we helped them with their project. It would be wonderful to return to Poland and see this project completed with the young people making use of the facility. Someday I might be able to make that happen!

Use Your Head & Carry Medical Info.

We wear head protection in various places. For me, I wear a hard hat on location while volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and a bike helmet while riding my bicycle. Most times I am on my own riding or working with people who do not know me very well so it is important to have medical information easily available to them if I cannot provide it myself. Recently I became aware of the “Medical Information Carrier System”, MICS, available at

You write your medical information on the data form they provide, fold it up and insert it in their carrier (a small neon plastic piece you attach inside your protective hat/helmet). For others to know you have this information available, in case of medical emergency, you apply a MICS reflective decal on the outside left rear of your protective hat/helmet.

Now you are ready to have help available for you, if needed. Also, it is good practice to look on the left rear outside of helmets now…encourage others to get the medical information carrier system and/or to begin creating for yourself a first aid responder’s habit. Be safe!

Easy way to carry medical info in your helmet.
Easy way to carry medical info in your helmet.

Reflective Decal placed on left rear of the standard.
Reflective Decal placed on left rear of helmet…is the standard.

Today’s My Dad’s Birthday, but….

My Dad's hammer represents much to me.
My Dad’s hammer represents much to me.

It’s his birthday today….I will not get to celebrate it as I had done in the past; he died a few months ago. Each new year celebration had been my reminder that his birthday was approaching. I was always grateful for the longevity gene in this family and would then wonder what an 80+ year old person needs/wants for a birthday gift. Would it be a Chicken Soup book, chewable dark chocolate, a historical novel? I would send a card and sometimes a gift, but would always have a phone conversation with him on his birthday. It usually involved what’s the latest there with him and here with me, and my latest home building/maintenance questions?

When younger, my family traveled with the wood-paneled station wagon pulling a trailer. There were skills gained during those adventures that translated to much of my success while camping, backpacking or traveling the world and needing to know how to feel comfortable in new situations. Even though my Dad taught Industrial Arts to male students, because that was the day when only boys had that class, my Dad taught his 4 girls how to use a saw, hammer, screwdriver, etc and it was no surprise to me to see my siblings all have a strong science background.

My Dad helped me with every apartment and house repair, even showing up at times to lend a hand with the actual job or providing me insight to solve concerns. We once put a bay window into an Adirondack shack I owned and built an outhouse there! We painted rooms at a rental property, and gutted and rebuilt an entire kitchen at another house. (Although when I left for work one day, I returned home to discover every exterior window with repainted shutters, RED ones! He was convinced they sold the house.)

I will miss his conversations and help as I currently work on a new home construction. Of course he would say, there would be little to do with new construction! Yet he had discovered that would not be true, since we did have a project list for him at our last new home.

This year I dedicate all volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity to my Dad. I have his hammer, his work ethic, and his joy and love of creating something constructive with and for other people, no matter who they are. While I will always miss my Dad, this can be a good year! My heart will be with his hammer and we will work as one. Build on!