In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we are honoring 11 amazing and talented couples that are changing lives in our community through service with Bend Area Habitat and other great organizations!
Don & Ann Kelly, Doug & Marianne Watson, Terry & Kathy Colombo, Chris & Howard Gorman, Gary & Mary Conrad, John & Penny Tierney, Rick Wannamacher & Joy Rochester, Mike & Lana Kowalski, Joe & Barbara Christensen, John Alford & Judy Thomas and last – but certainly not least – Mike Wilson & Dana Hardy.
The gifts these volunteers give, in the forms of time, dedication, hard work and blood, sweat and tears, shape our community into a place that we are all proud to live in and be a part of.
On behalf of the staff, Habitat Families and fellow volunteers, we give you all a huge “THANK YOU”. We could not do this without you!
Please take a minute and read about each one of these outstanding couples that give so much of themselves to others in need.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Ann and Don Kelly
win the Habitat loyalty prize. They have been volunteering with our organization for 16 years! Both spent their first six months at the ReStore, which was still located on the Pak-It Liquidators property on 9th
Street. They then started working on the five homes under construction on Revere. Back in those days, there were no nail guns or chop saws and no Tyvek! Just hammers, nails, skill saws and about 4-5 volunteers per house. Ann recalls a break-through when she got tired of asking for help and learned how to measure and cut with a skill saw.
Ann went to school to become an Oceanographer, but settled into home-making and part time bookkeeping instead. Don was a research chemist for Bend Research, and though his wife praises his abilities to fix things around the house, neither of the Kelly’s had had any construction experience before joining the Habitat team. Today, Don is known as the “King of Caulk” and Ann is the “Queen of Keeping People Busy”.
For both Ann and Don, the site’s camaraderie, flexible schedule, welcoming environment for those with little skill but a willingness to learn, and fellow volunteer Darryl Buttice’s annual list of funny quotes keep them coming back year after year.
When asked about their funny memories on the site, Don chuckled about a back door that was designed into a house that (had it been built) would have opened onto the edge of a cliff. Ann told us about the time that she blogged about the fake political races that were taking place on the site (one candidate had raise over 47 cents!!!) and was flagged by the authorities for inappropriately promoting politics!
When they are not with Habitat, Ann sews bags for toiletry kits given to children in the FAN (Family Access Network) program, and sews quilts for donation to organizations such as the Red Cross and her church. Don loves to read and follow the news.
Thank you Ann and Don for your incredible commitment to Bend Area Habitat![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Howard and Chris Gorman
If you look up “dedicated” in the dictionary (if you still have one laying around) you will see a picture of Howard & Chris Gorman. They are not only dedicated to Bend Area Habitat but to their family, friends, church and the entire central Oregon community. We are blessed that they have been giving a great deal of their time and service to us over the last five and a half years.
You will be exhausted by the time you finish reading how much they help here at Bend Habitat. Chris started as a cashier, was instrumental in the start and continued success of CUP (Creative Upcycled Projects), has worked with other volunteers with special needs, helped with many events and currently is the Facebook Goddess of the ReStore. Howard has been just as involved with his ongoing administrative support to the managers and staff, has documented a variety of organizational events and topics through photography, and is currently helping with the Events Committee and several other special projects. Chris and Howard are always willing to help in any way that we need.
Owning and operating their own large business for over 25 years has given the Gorman dynamic duo a wide array of skills that have made them invaluable volunteers here at Bend Habitat. Working with and meeting new people is one of the things that keeps them volunteering. They love giving back and being a part of making Bend the community that it is. In addition to their service here they also give time to their church, Redmond Garden Club, Notables Swing Band and Cascades Horizon Band.
They would encourage someone to join Bend Habitat’s team of volunteers and staff whom the Gormans feel are terrific examples of dedication and faith to a mission that makes a difference. People are very friendly and everyone takes time to help and listen to others. Howard observes that Habitat Volunteers take pride in what they are doing, no matter how small or large the task. Chris says “you learn so much through your volunteer service, doing things you never thought you would and have fun doing it.”
Reflecting on fond memories of their service here, Howard talked about his project of interviewing Habitat’s 22 staff members for their website bios. He felt he reached new depths of understanding of about their backgrounds and the path that lead them to Bend Habitat. These stories were invariably very touching and relevant to the understanding how this team can produce so much for the community and themselves. Chris recalled the early days when she was learning the ins and outs of old fashioned cash registers. An old habit of placing large bills under the till drawer kicked in in a moment of stress, and then she forgot about it. When the till didn’t balance, Chris panicked. Luckily the tucked away bill was found several days later and all was well.
When not working on their recent house remodel, or volunteering, Chris and Howard love to spend time with their family. Chris loves HGTV, buying upcycled treasures for their home and helping with the garden club and at church. Howard is a great saxophone player, loves golf and vows to golf more this summer. They both really enjoy the energy of Bend and the wide diversity of the people that make this community so great.
Dana Hardy and Michael Wilson
Michael and Dana relocated to Bend in March of 2016 from Vancouver, B.C. After settling in their new town, Michael began helping out on our construction site and Dana became a cashier at the ReStore. New to Bend but not new to Habitat, Dana has participated on a Global Village trip and donated time to the Vancouver affiliate’s construction site and ReStore. With a heart for missions that provide basic needs like food and shelter, she feels Habitat is a great fit for her and her partner. She would encourage someone to get involved with Habitat as she feels that we “are extremely responsible with our funding” and utilize volunteer help effectively to keep staff costs to a minimum.
Now retired (Dana was a Canadian CPA for 32 years and Mike had a career in electronics engineering) the couple are far from selfish with their time. They volunteer with the City of Bend, Octoberfest, Winterfest, Bend Food Project, and the family kitchen. Dana volunteered for the Green Tour and the Car Free Day last fall, and helped with a river clean-up project (where she stepped on a wasp and was stung several times!).
When not volunteering in the community Michael and Dana spend lots of time with their beloved doggie doing lots of exploring, hiking and skiing. They’ve also tackled vegetable gardening in the High Desert and tend a plot at the Miller’s Landing Community Garden and a bed Mike built in their yard over the summer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Doug and Marianne Watson
Doug and Marianne are Bend Habitat Volunteer royalty. They began their volunteer “careers” with Habitat over 12 years ago. Doug has served two terms as a board member, with titles of both Vice President and President. He’s volunteered with construction, including a role as house Build Leader, and has twice championed the ReStore through major transitions and development. He still spends time as a Reclamation Team member and donation pick-up driver.
Marianne has done everything from marketing, cashiering, receiving, and merchandising in the store, to fundraising and serving as a Family Mentor. Marianne’s sense of humor has eased staff and volunteers through many a stressful day. Case in point:
“I was cashiering one Saturday when I spotted my husband in line, a few customers back, with armfuls of junk, I mean treasures, which I knew I would have to re-donate to ReStore the next week. I pointed to him, raising my voice (slightly) and said “Please put those items back. You really don’t need them”. The customers in front of him look horrified, as if I might critique their purchases and make the same demand. I realized how bad it looked, so I explained my dilemma and apologized for alarming them. Of course, my husband purchased everything all the while informing me what a great deal his treasures were. We’re a power couple, to be sure.”
Prior to retirement, Doug was a mechanical engineer who ran a business in a large multinational company. He enjoys travel, golf, volunteering at the Tower Theater, flying his drone, and harassing fellow Habitat volunteer Michael Hanbey (who we are sure holds his own as the former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington). When asked how he would encourage someone new to volunteer with Bend Habitat he replied: “I would talk about the quality and diversity of volunteers and how good it feels to see families get their homes. I would talk about the integrity of the teams and of course the sense of humor of all involved making it fun.”
Marianne, a former R.N. and Nursing Program Manager, enjoys getting outdoors to enjoy our beautiful Central Oregon countryside and traveling as often as she can. She says this of her work at Habitat:
“I love working with the other volunteers. The staff is so appreciative of the work the volunteers do. And, of course, seeing families get their own homes[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Mary and Gary Conrad
Mary and Gary Conrad began volunteering at the ReStore in early 2014. They’d “just gotten comfortable at the old store then helped with the move to this location.”
At the store, Mary has worked as a cashier and merchandiser, as well as serving on the relocation marketing committee and Rubbish Renewed Fashion Show team. She began serving as a Habitat family mentor last fall. In addition to her wide ranging commitments to Habitat, Mary is an advocate with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children).
Gary is a part of the donation receiving crew and Expansion Committee. Gary enjoys taking bets with members of the receiving crew on how long it will take to sell a particularly unattractive item. No matter what, it usually sells faster than anyone bet.
In their spare time, the Conrads enjoy being outdoors any time of the year. “We love camping, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and golf. What a wonderful area to retire!” With respective backgrounds in professional sales and customer service, and finance, Mary and Gary both believe that “this is an excellent volunteer opportunity” that truly benefits the community of Bend.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Jon and Penny Tierney
Jon Tierney began volunteering with Restore in receiving about three years ago. Jon was apparently enjoying himself so much, he convinced Penny to join the team a couple of years later as a floor merchandiser.
Jon and Penny enjoy people and staying busy, so the ReStore has been a great place for them to spend some of the time retirement offers. When they are not volunteering, they spend time traveling and golfing. Jon enjoys his guitar and Penny likes to stitch and crochet. They would encourage others to volunteer by “telling them about the great cause, great people and flexible hours. The prices are right to buy!!”[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Judy Thomas and John Alford
Judy and John were recruited for the ReStore ranks by their friend and fellow volunteer Mary Barron, and began working in the store right after they moved to Bend from Austin, Texas in November of 2015.
Judy found her niche applying her organizational and computer skills acquired as a librarian and teacher to assisting Brenda (Volunteer Coordinator) with special projects. John’s tech and computer skills, background in management, and great sense of humor makes him an engaging cashier.
John and Judy enjoy hiking, dog walking and boarding dogs for others, and would like to “invite [potential future volunteers] in the store when we’re working and show them what fun it is to help others!”[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Kathy and Terry Colombo
Kathy and Terry have volunteered with Habitat for six years, donating time to the ReStore. Kathy is always up for more responsibility beyond her weekly cashier shift, such as helping to run new volunteer orientations, pricing and stocking “retail” inventory, pitching in in receiving, and sewing aprons at home for sale in the store. Terry is always up for more abuse and is an instrumental member of the receiving team. Both of the Colombos bring such energy, integrity and humor when they come, we love to have their help at special events too.
With his 30-plus years’ experience as an Airline Technician, Terry is ready for anything that comes along while volunteering. His love of people and talent for management makes him a natural leader at Habitat. Kathy brings a wealth of skills from her very diverse background. She worked hard for many years in a variety of positions with a variety of companies to “make it to the top in man’s world.” She loves working with people.
The Colombos enjoy the fun, the people, the flexible schedule, and the variety of volunteer positions available here at Bend Habitat. They are proud to be volunteers for Habitat and love looking back and seeing how far the ReStore has come in the last 6 years. Kathy can’t say enough about how great all the other volunteers and staff are here at the store. And the customers too…Kathy remembers one customer at the store vividly who looked exactly
like George W Bush. When she spoke with him, he said he “got that all the time”, and once was even mistaken for the former President while visiting Saudi Arabia. That made him a little nervous.
Terry (along with the rest of the staff) just love Nick for always scaring the living daylights out of us. He sneaks up behind you when you are busy or talking to someone else and pokes you in the sides while yelping as loud as he can. You jump out of your skin and try to not pee your pants or have a heart attack. That dude can scream loud too.
When not here helping us at the ReStore, Terry and Kathy really enjoy their “hers and his doggies” Bailey is Kathy’s boy and Casey is Terry’s boy. The love to ski and go as much as they can. Terry loves helping rebuild old hot rods and riding Harleys. They love to hit happy hours around Bend and get together with friends for potlucks and games. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful, vibrant couple on the team.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Barbara and Joe Christensen
Barbara and Joe have been helping here at Bend Area Habitat for several years now. Barbara started as a cashier at the ReStore, and now has found her niche helping with event planning. She and Joe are currently involved in organizing the annual Golf Tournament. Joe helps at the ReStore in receiving, repairing and rebuilding lights and ceiling fans. He loves teaching new volunteers.
We are lucky to have Barbara with her 30 plus years of experience as an emergency room nurse and teacher. Always warm and calm, she has wonderful people skills. With a background in the computer industry and real estate business, Joe brings a wealth of customer relation skills. As a self-proclaimed remodeler he considers Habitat a great fit as a place to give his time. When asked about a funny story on the job, Joe recalls the customer who asked him if we had a catalog of all the items at the ReStore. Hah! He loves it when he is asked to negotiate. He very politely explains what a good deal it is already.
The Christensens love the variety of volunteer opportunities that our organization offers for volunteers and the flexibility to move from one volunteer position to another. Joe is especially impressed with the staff’s ability to keep all the volunteers motivated and coming back despite the lack of a paycheck. They both love being able to give back to the community after being blessed with great careers and a wonderful family.
When not helping at Bend Habitat Joe and Barbara love to spend time with their family. They really enjoy the grandkids’ sporting events. They have been working diligently on remodeling their house and are almost done. They are also involved at church, and are currently working on the crisis of homelessness in Central Oregon.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Rick Wannamacher and Joy Rochester
Rick and Joy are involved in Bend Habitat in many different ways. In the last two years, Rick has helped with reclamations, in receiving, with merchandising (his specialty is cabinets, doors and trim), on donation pick-ups, and on special projects during the last ReStore move and in preparation of the upcoming expansion. We were blessed to have Rick and Joy on the Global Village Trip last fall to Trinidad and Tobago.
Rick has always enjoyed doing projects around the house, before and after retiring from corporate life. He is talented in everything from electrical and plumbing to masonry and lumber construction. With these skills and his terrific planning, communication and interpersonal skills, Rick is an invaluable volunteer and truly a “go to guy”.
If you are thinking of volunteering with Bend Habitat, Rick says “Just Do It. Come to one of the orientations and get started. Staff and other volunteers are all so friendly and helpful and they will find a spot that matches your interests and skills, whether you want to help at the ReStore, at construction or in some other way.” Joy loves it when Rick volunteers at Habitat because “he comes home in a great mood”.
When not helping out at Habitat here locally or abroad, Rick and Joy enjoy traveling with or without their RV, hiking and being outdoors. Rick likes working on projects around the house. We are so lucky to have Rick and Joy on our team.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]
Mike & Lana Kowalski
With three years of volunteering for Bend Habitat under their belts, Mike & Lana are ready to venture out and continue on with their service to the community through volunteering. Mike first experienced Habitat in McMinnville where he worked on builds for a little more than four years. Now, after three years of being on the Family Services Committee and two years as a family mentors, Mike is ready to get back to building and is looking forward to possibly joining the construction team. Lana would love to continue as a Family Mentor.
Mike has a background in structural engineering, road construction and land development. Mike finds building to be very rewarding and brings a wealth of knowledge to Habitat. Homelessness is a great concern of his and he loves being able to help address the problem.
With her background as a dental hygienist, Lana brings the people skills. Years of being involved with school boards (and once holding the position of President) taught her how to bring a variety of different people together to work toward a common goal. With a heart for the community, Lana enjoys working with a diverse group of people that are united in their focus on problem solving. She loves learning more about communication and different approaches to problems while collaborating with others.
Mike & Lana really enjoy spending time with their grandkids, traveling, golfing, and exercising when not busy volunteering for Habitat. Lana also enjoys hiking in her free time. Mike is a hunter and fisherman and helps at church and with the Knights of Columbus. Thank you Mike and Lana for sharing your time with Bend Habitat![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]]]>