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Collegiate Build Reflection

By Andrew Duback, volunteer from Oakton Community College

Arriving in Loveland, I had much to expect from a place so different from my home in Chicago. I was amazed at how clean and beautiful the town looked as we drove in after 16 hours on the road.

The mountains were beautiful and the sun shone brightly. On Memorial Day, we didn’t work and took the day to do a hike on the Rocky Mountain National Park trail. I felt so blessed to be able to see the beauty of this trail, much like I had hoped to see in Colorado.

My eyes were enjoying the beauty of the state but my hands had not yet done any work. On our first day of work at the Loveland Habitat construction site, I was eager to start and feeling great. I was already falling in love with Loveland and my Habitat work group from college.

When I arrived on site, I was impressed that there were also many other non-student volunteers. This added to the experience, not only because it reminded me how many good people there are in the world, but because these volunteers used their experience to teach us. We learned how to work many different jobs and had the guidance of our leaders Shelly and Levi, which I appreciated so much.

Once, when I was preparing to caulk and paint the trim on the bottom of a wall, I realized I didn’t exactly know what to do. Levi showed me how: first, cover the nails with putty, then, caulk the edges of the trim, and finally, paint. It made things so simple and all of a sudden I became a master caulker and painter!

Gathering together for lunch every day was a time of relief and reflection. We did not over-work ourselves, but it was nice to eat some food after building up an appetite. One day, we gathered in the basement of the house we were dry-walling—a cool retreat from the hot sun. It was then that I really understood the incredible process of building that house—so many hands had helped build it, including my own. When I walked back upstairs after lunch was over, I noticed the walls looked different. Together, we had put up a lot of drywall and the wall started to look like it was truly part of a home. It was a group effort—even when I was tired or didn’t know what to do, someone always came alongside me to lend a helping hand.

I volunteer with Habitat not only because it is a way for me to do some good in this world while learning construction and building skills, but so that I can meet like-minded people who are very easy to make friends with. I would like to thank everyone who went on the trip, as well as all of the people who watched over us on our journey. It was an excellent time of growth and discovery. I learned how to have patience and give other people the opportunity to learn. I also learned to share and give others the opportunity to use the same hammer that I used. I can’t wait for my next Habitat trip.