544th IOG builds homes for those in need

544th IOG builds homes for those in need

Rickey L. Johnson

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Several members from the 544th Information Operations Group recently spent four days working on two Habitat for Humanity homes in Colorado Springs, Colo.

According to the Habitat for Humanity International Web site, Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit worldwide Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage. On average, a Habitat house can costs between $800 and $46,000 and mortgage can vary from seven to 30 years.

Habitat for Humanity does not receive government funds so the organization depends on monetary and material donations, as well as volunteer labor.

“The military community is a huge support to the program,” said Kortney Siegert, Habitat for Humanity volunteer program manager. “They account for more than 25 percent of the volunteers in Colorado Springs. They are the hardest working, most prompt, on-time and most focused at the task. The military is a key part in providing more than 65 new homes to needy families. Their contributions are priceless to the Colorado Springs community.”

Group members spent days digging, hammering, nailing and insulating homes. The first two crews worked on the foundation of one home while another crew worked on insulation and drywall. The homes will be turned over to low-income families in May. However, the family must meet certain requirements in order to own the home, including making a one percent down payment as well as investing hundreds of hours helping to build the home.

“I volunteered for Habitat For Humanity for the first time in my Air Force Career,” said Staff Sgt. Guinevere Davison, 544th IOG mission management NCO. “If I had known how much of a difference I could make by just hammering a nail, putting up insulation and hanging a roof, I would have volunteered much sooner. Just knowing that you can put a smile on the faces of a needy family is the greatest feeling one can have.”

Since October 2003, Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabilitated 65 homes in El Paso County.

The idea to volunteer came up during a group staff meeting when Capt. Gary Swain, 544th IOG commander’s executive officer suggested that volunteering for Habit for Humanity was a good way to give back to the community.

“The initial reason why the group started participating in Habitat for Humanity was because we really wanted to do something for the local community of Colorado Springs and to say thanks to the residents,” Captain Swain said. “I think sometimes in the Air Force, we get caught up with the day-to-day stresses of work and get side-tracked on who really supports the troops. We thought this would be a nice way to give back to the local community for all that they do everyday and the support they give.”

Volunteers included: Maj. Mike Stamp, Capt. Todd Smith, Capt. Charles Moore, 1st Lt. Jason Gerber, Chief Master Sgt. Walter A. Carrier III, Master Sgt. James Coulter, Master Sgt. David Thuis, Tech. Sgt. Rickey Johnson, Tech. Sgt. Joe Drueke, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Gregoire, Tech. Sgt. Barbara Ritson, Tech. Sgt. Tracey Dawley, Tech. Sgt. Denicia Conley, Staff Sgt. Michelle Birchfield, Staff Sgt. Victor Birchfield, Staff Sgt. Dawn Cooper, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Leftwich, Staff Sgt. Guinevere Davis and Ann Young.

By Tech. Sgt. Rickey L. Johnson

544th Information Operations Group

COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Air Intelligence Agency

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group