Meet Robert (Bob), a Bloomfield Twp. resident and Habitat Oakland County core volunteer for more than two decades! Bob is 71 years old and grew up in Grosse Pointe Woods. He’s a proud graduate of Michigan Technological University who went on to work for 30 years as a commercial artist, eventually owning Detroit Art Services –producing automotive owner manuals, maintenance manuals and training programs.
After selling the business in 1996, his wife suggested he look for something to do to stay active. He began searching in the newspaper for possible volunteer work or a fun side job where he could meet new people. He came across an article about Habitat for Humanity in Oakland County opening a new affiliate in Pontiac. He attended his first meeting on January 5, 1997 on the second floor of a school building in Pontiac. It was then that he knew he was going to commit himself to a great organization. He once had built a cottage up north and was eager to learn more construction skills, so he felt it was a perfect fit for him while giving back to the community. He quickly became a crew leader and eventually a member of the Habitat Oakland County board.
He served two years on the board, but found he was better suited for the construction crews as a core volunteer — “I was just ready to go back and hammer some nails!” said Bob.
“My best memory of Habitat Oakland County is when I first started in 1997 and the board decided to build five houses in only a four-month period of time! I was tired, but it was worth it,” explains Bob. “What’s most inspiring is to see the smiles and gratitude of the homebuyers’ faces during the construction phase and when we turn the keys over to them.”
“I keep coming back to Habitat Oakland County’s construction sites, because the people I work with are a fun bunch. There’s always a diverse group at almost every site that we build or reconstruct,” he explains. “The volunteers who work the site take time from their everyday busy lives to help their community. We all work hard and are passionate about giving our best to help others so they can have a decent and affordable home,” says Bob.
Bob can be found volunteering at almost every Habitat Oakland County construction site. “Volunteering at Habitat Oakland County gives me purpose,” he says. “I’ve learned how to do carpentry, siding and roofing — all while having fun and meeting new people in the community.”
He hopes to inspire others and but specifically the next generation to encourage them to give back to their community because — even though it’s exhausting — sometimes the feeling of accomplishment when a house is built or redone is better than anything you’ll ever experience. “Don’t worry about not having any skills, because we can teach you,” he said excitedly.