Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco's giving circle known as “Hunks with Hammers” is a group of 50 men that support Habitat’s mission of affordable housing. “Hunks with Hammers” was started by a Habitat supporter, Marc Banning of Banning Lumber and Millwork. Mr. Banning wanted a men’s group similar to the Habitat women’s giving circle “Hammers and Heels” also spear headed by donor and previous board member, Judy Mitchell.

This group of dedicated donors and volunteers has been active for almost two years. The first home is now under construction in St. Petersburg. The homeowner candidate is a single father of five. There are ten sponsors on this special build and many of them are companies owned by the members of the group. The men meet at local establishments around Pinellas County for strategy and socializing. The group is committed to building a second home next year but needs your support. To get more information please contact Jack Shanks at JShanks@HabitatPWP.org. Jack is happy to answer your questions and sign you up as a member.

Tony Griffith is a native Floridian born in Jacksonville, and raised in Melbourne Beach, Florida. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance from Florida State University. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from the Florida State University College of Law.

Tony has won numerous awards in the legal field for professional excellence and high ethical standards such as the Clearwater Bar Association Ralph Richards Award and the Barney Award. He has also been named as one of Florida's "Super Lawyers" by Super Lawyer Magazine and has been selected by Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida's "Legal Elite". He achieved an AV rating, the highest possible, by his peers for preeminence in legal abilities and ethical standards.

Tony’s involvement in the community includes work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Springs of Hope Kenya, Sherriff Youth Ranch and he even teaches a weekly class in the local jails. Tony is also actively involved in his church. He has enjoyed coaching and youth ministry as well as the joy of raising 4 daughters with Carol, his wife of over 25 years.

Tony’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco spans over 30 years. He began in the late 1980’s as a volunteer on the construction sites. He then furthered his involvement by fundraising to build more homes. He got several churches and the Clearwater Bar Association to sponsor homes. Tony then joined the Habitat Board of Directors and served for five years. During this time he served as Treasurer and President. Today Tony continues to be a wonderful supporter and advocate for Habitat. Tony was recently awarded the Silver Nail Award at the 2019 Blueprint Gala.

When asked what inspires you about Habitat, Tony replied… “First it was the overall mission that attracted me- what everyone knows about Habitat. The heart of the volunteers, supporters and board members as I worked alongside them on homes drew me in further. Then it was getting to know and be awed and inspired by the homeowners and their courage, dedication and faith that really lit a fire for me. Ultimately I saw the core values (Theology of the Hammer) and depth of this Christian ministry that supports and loves and builds up all people regardless of their backgrounds, religious, social or other preferences and then I was hooked for life”.

 

John Zoda has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity since 2015. “I was looking for something that would be interesting to do, have an opportunity to meet new people, and as a way to give back to society”.

John served as a naval officer for seven years, and worked for 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He enjoys learning new skills, and as a Habitat volunteer he can do just that! He loves meeting fellow volunteers, Habitat staff members and homeowner candidates.

While he doesn’t have one specify favorite memory from his time at Habitat, he noted, “I often think about my abilities when I first started (probably would have been fired if this was a paid job) and am able to look back and see steady progress to where I feel that I can do most jobs onsite”.

Thank you to John for your service to our country, and for donating your time with Habitat!

This month’s, our Volunteer Spotlight highlights Lurane Worth. Lurane is an RN who began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County in April of 2018. 

Lurane was affected by Hurricane Irma, both in Pinellas County and in the US Virgin Islands. She explains that she began volunteering with Habitat because "not having 'a roof over my head' gave me great compassion for the effects of homelessness, or the gravity of circumstances beyond someone’s control". 

Lurane loves the "hands on" aspect of volunteering with Habitat. "I love working beside other volunteers, candidates and homeowners. I'm impressed with the professional supervisors and staff. Habitat Pinellas combines 'community' with 'Humanity' right in our front yard!".

Lurane's favorite volunteer memory was at her first dedication. She was especially touched by the blessing of the home, with everyone in attendance laying their hands on the house. 

 

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and corporate teams, please click here.

 

 

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is highlighting Alejundro Sanchez. Alejundro, a Verizon employee of 19 years, originally began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in his home state of Washington.

“My first experience with Habitat for Humanity was in Washington State in a small town called Burlington. At 22, I was working for Horizon Bank. They asked if anyone would like to volunteer and I excitedly offered my time. I showed up at the site and was ambitious to help. I met a few of the new home owners that were more than excited to greet me and thank me for my time. I spent all day there and looked forward to learning more about building a home and all that goes into it. The pride I felt that day still resonates in my soul.”

In 2016, Alejundro and his partner moved to Florida and are currently in the process of building a home together. Alejundro continues to donate his time through the Pinellas affiliate.

“I initially volunteered to learn more about what it takes to build a home. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to rely on the expertise of the onsite crew and foremen to teach me and help me avoid mistakes if I ever needed to work on my own house in the future. I hoped I would learn more about wiring, drywall, roofing and everything else. In a sense, it was kind of selfish, at first but my perspective changed once I realize who was depending on me to help and who was counting on me to put my hours in to finish the project on time. I soon found out how important volunteers are to the people who need this.”

Alejundro loves meeting new people through his experiences at the ReStore and on build sites.

“What I love about volunteering are the people you meet. I wouldn't have met any of the workers or volunteers if I didn't invest a little of myself to give back what I have been so graciously given. To name one man, specifically, is Dalton. He managed and volunteers at the Palm Harbor ReStore and each day I helped I saw how he ran the entire operation. He's what I would consider a solid pillar of the community. The hard work that he has put into the store, shows. It runs so smoothly; not only in the layout but also in the people who work and volunteer there. This has been my best experience volunteering.”

Habitat Pinellas is grateful for our amazing volunteers and their employers! Alejundro recently donated 50 hours of his time, and through his employer’s volunteer matching program, Verizon donated $750 to Habitat Pinellas.

Does your company offer a volunteer matching program? Contact Alison Riley at ariley@habitatpinellas.org to learn more. Interested in volunteering? Click here to find more information.

 

 

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is on Diane Everhart. Diane is a New Jersey native but has spent the past 31 years in St. Petersburg. After only one week in the area, she began working for Maas Bros./Macy’s Department Store Furniture Gallery then retired 30 years later. She raised her two nephews from the time they were one and seven years old and provided them a home, which Diane refers to as a “fixer upper.” Over the years, the three of them spent countless hours renovating this house and made it a home; they were all very proud of their accomplishments.

In the early 2000s, Diane first experienced volunteering with Habitat through her employer. At that time she spent her volunteer hours repairing homes of the local elderly community. When asked what she most loves about volunteering, Diane stated, “Fellowship. [I appreciate] the knowledge and experience that I receive doing what I love to do [and] giving back.” She said her best memory of volunteering with Habitat was the experience of being present at the start of a build then witnessing the culmination of all of the hard work at the same home’s dedication with the new homeowners.

“My dad built our family home with his own hands and a very small crew. 50 years later, I seem to feel what he must have felt. From beginning to end, from the foundation to the presentation of the keys and a new beginning; it must be in [my] blood!”

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and corporate teams, please click here.

Volunteers are the heartbeat of Habitat for Humanity. Whether you are a builder or have never used a hammer, YOU can make a difference in your community. We're seeking volunteers who are available to help build on our construction site or can help lend a hand at our Habitat Pinellas or Habitat Palm Harbor ReStore.

To see all the positions currently available, please click here.

If you are interested in volunteering for a special event, please click here.

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Been thinking of volunteering, but worried you don't have the skills or know-how to build a house? You might be interested to know that the majority of folks who come out to help us have no experience what-so-ever building anything!

Some have never even used a hammer!

Our construction staff is skilled at training novice builders and you'll be amazed at how quickly they will have a team of volunteers being productive and effective! So don't be shy. You CAN do it!

No experience is necessary to come out and help us out! We provide the tools and the hard hat — all you need to bring is yourself, some gloves, closed toed shoes, and some sunscreen!

Register online today!

Thanks for supporting our mission of making sure everyone has a decent place to live!

See more pics on our Habitat Pinellas Global Village Trips Facebook page!

Between May 2nd and May 10th, a hardworking and adventurous group of Habitat for Humanity supporters are building homes for two families in a mountainous region of Guatemala. The build trip is part of Habitat International's Global Village program.

The team of 13 local men and women is working on two modest block homes and the work can be absolutely backbreaking because the tools and equipment we are accostumed to here in the U.S. are not available in Guatemala.

Led by Habitat Pinellas volunteer coordinator Linzy Wilson and COO Ron Spoor, the team includes Caldwell Buntin, Dan Stowers, George Glaros, Michael Alford, Randall Decker, Renee Athey, Robbie Burgess, Robert Reeves, Warren Wilford, and Wayne Wilford!

A world of thanks to our 2015 Global Village team who volunteers who not only are giving incredible amounts of their time and effort, but they also contributed the travel/accomodations cost of this endeavor.

Photo: Some of the Habitat Pinellas volunteers with their Guatemalan friends at the site of one the builds.

We are excited to introduce our new women's giving circle, "Hammers & Heels!"  Hammers & Heels is an exceptional group of women with a desire to impact the mission of Habitat for Humanity through philanthropy.

Hammers & Heels members are dedicated to supporting the work that Habitat Pinellas does throughout our county through strategic, intentional giving that invests in select projects that maximize the impact of our Habitat programs.

We are also thrilled to have Judy Mitchell, former president/owner of Peter R. Brown Construction, as our honorary chair to "kick-start" Hammers & Heels.

In a recent announcement about the launch of Hammers & Heels Judy said:
"For several years, my husband, Jeff, served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. During those years, I was fortunate to have a ringside seat to observe how Habitat truly succeeds in its affordable home building program, providing "a hand up, not a hand out" and making a life-changing difference for low-income families right here in our Pinellas community.

And now, I have an opportunity to help Habitat Pinellas put hardworking families on the road to a brighter future.  As this year's Honorary Chair for the launch of Hammers & Heels, I'll be leading a group of amazing women who desire to make an impact through collective giving.  I invite you to join me as an inaugural member of Hammers & Heels and look forward to welcoming you at our member event in the fall."

Member benefits include a signature member gift, member-only social and educational programs, "insider" tours of homes and build sites, participation in annual women's events and more.

Click here to learn more about Hammers & Heels!