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Hawks volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

By Cpl. Anthony Guas | | November 18, 2005

Marines from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 volunteered their time with the Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity to help a homeowner re-shingle the roof of his home on St. Helena Island, Nov. 12.

The homeowner was an elderly citizen, who did not have the time, strength or resources to re-shingle his leaking roof himself. With the help from the Marines and Habitat for Humanity, the homeowner was able to fix his roof in one day.

“We are most appreciative of the continuing service of all military personnel, and especially VMFA(AW)-533, to our community,” said Barbara Thomas, the president of Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity. “We are pleased this squadron has chosen to donate its time to Lowcountry Habitat on a regular basis and contribute to Habitat’s mission of eliminating substandard housing throughout the world.”

The Hawks who participated feel that by volunteering in the community, they are giving back what Beaufort gives to them, according to Sgt. Kaydee Kirt, an imagery analyst for VMFA(AW)-533.

“Beaufort does a good job of supporting the deploying units and families,” Kirt said. “This was an opportunity for us to do the same.”

The subject of volunteering first arose when Gunnery Sgt. Clark Hovland, the imagery analyst chief for VMFA(AW)-533 spoke with the squadron sergeant major about getting involved with the community.

“I had worked previously with Habitat for Humanity and we thought it would be a good idea to get Marines from our squadron involved with that,” Hovland said. “This really helps people and is the best way to get involved.”

This marks the second time that the squadron has volunteered with the organization. The Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity is a good outlet for Marines who are looking to volunteer, according to Hovland.

“We always need volunteers to help us,” said Arlene Porter, the volunteer coordinator for the Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity. “We rely on the community for donations of money, resources and volunteers. The (Marines and sailors) have been a tremendous asset to our mission.”

In its ten years, the Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity has built 22 homes for families, is currently working on one and will start another soon, according to Porter.

“All the work is done by volunteers,” Porter said. “All the materials are donated or the money is raised locally. Usually the Marines help with the hard labor.”

Another area Marines and sailors can and have assisted is in transporting materials, according to Porter.

“A lot of times we have people who donated materials when they are deconstructing something,” Porter said. “So sometimes we need people to help take apart the materials and transport them.”

The Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity believes that the Air Station’s service members have provided a lot of quality help, according to Porter.

“They are always so willing and talented,” Porter said. “I believe that they get the job done twice as fast.”

The project, which only took three hours, provided a good way for Marines to get to know each other better while helping a needy member of the community, according to Hovland.

“We told Habitat for Humanity that they can call us whenever they have another project or need,” Hovland said. “We like helping the community and it gets us closer. It allows people to interact out of the work environment. Overall (volunteering) feels good.”

For information on upcoming volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity, please call Porter at 522-3538.