February 12, 2007
Normally, you would not find Jean Groce on top of a ladder driving nails.
"I work in the office. I am an Operation Program Manager in Utah. Most of my work keeps me indoors," Groce said.
But on this sunny day, Groce and about 85 of his colleagues from Northrop Grumman decided to step out of their usual roles and become builders.
It's taking Groce a little time to get used to the work.
"All day I have been sweating, I have been nailing and screwing boards in, measuring and cutting. It's great. I'm moving ladders, trying to find screws."
The Northrop Grumman workers are assisting Habitat for Humanity to build three homes on Lima Drive.
California volunteer Pam Schnabel calls the work challenging, rewarding and educational.
"Sometimes in our offices, we don't get to see the product of our work. Here, we are actually seeing houses going up, siding going up, progress," Schnabel said.
"I actually learned you're supposed to hold a hammer further on the handle, so that you get more leverage."
While the volunteers will take many lessons home, what they leave behind is much greater.
"The need for housing in extraordinary on the Gulf Coast. We are building for people who have been put out of homes from the hurricanes," Habitat Construction Site Coordinator Brice McKee said.
These volunteers know a couple of hours of labor will help some family move closer to their dream.
"Giving money is easy. But actually coming out, making a difference, I think, makes a bigger difference than just giving a check to someone," volunteer Edmonds Hughes said.
Habitat for Humanity plans to build 17 homes on Lima Drive in Gautier