Shortly after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I volunteered for several week-long, home-building sessions with Habitat for Humanity. Upon registering on-line and meeting their requirements, I set off for Beaumont, Texas, to help build an entire block of houses following the destruction of Hurricane Rita.
On my first assignment, I met a lady who had volunteered for a “Jimmy Carter Build” (as the seasoned veterans called it) a few years earlier. It was known as the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity International. Ever since I heard her describe her experience with the Carters, it’s been on my bucket list.
After several sessions in Beaumont, my wife and I took a motor home trip through the southeastern states heading for Key West, Florida. I had read reports of all the destruction in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, from hurricane Katrina that occurred less than a month before hurricane Rita. We decided to stop along the way to see if I could help. I worked a couple of days, but tons of debris in the streets and building materials in short supply meant that little construction could be accomplished.
Upon returning home, I still had the urge to work with Habitat so I volunteered for projects in Alvarado and Cleburne, Texas. Projects here were smaller than the hurricane recovery, but just as fulfilling. A subsequent move ended my participation with Habitat for a while, and not until I returned to the Fort Worth area was I able to volunteer again.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were coming to town, according to an article in the “Fort Worth Star-Telegram.” I contacted the local Habitat office for information about a scheduled build in which they would be participating. It looked like my long-anticipated goal and an item on my bucket list might be realized.
Good news came when I received an email inviting me to volunteer for the build which the Carters would be attending. I knew I would need to register early before the project was filled up.
Then the bad news — volunteers would be required to make a contribution of $2250. Fund raising for the Habitat is an important part of the Carters’ participation and I expected to have to pay something. (The lady who had described her experience with a Carter build said she was required to pay $500.)
I am disappointed. Two thousand dollars is a bit out of my league right now. Looks like my dream of donning a tool belt next to the former President will not be realized.