The Habitat House That Atlas Built

Aug 05, 2004

This summer, a group of Atlas employees in Evansville will be getting up early on Saturdays to enjoy some invigorating outdoor activity. But they won't be heading to the golf course or baseball diamond. Instead of bats and clubs, they'll be picking up hammers and saws as they pitch in to build a home for Habitat for Humanity.

This is not the first time Atlas employees have raised a roof for Habitat. In 1999 a group of about 50 employees joined forces to build a house that would become home to an Atlas employee and her family. CFO Rick Olson served as the project's volunteer coordinator. "We at Atlas believe in supporting our community," says Rick. "We think Habitat is a good way to do it. The basic tenet is not charity; the homeowner has to give a substantial number of hours to the project. They 'buy into' the process and, in turn, give something back to the community."

According to Matt Bertram, Executive Director of Habitat in Evansville, partner families who qualify for a Habitat house must invest 200 hours working on homes for others before ground is broken for them.

"Once they have completed the required hours working on other homes, they must work at least 100 hours on their own home," says Matt.

Matt estimates that a typical home, which will have between 1100 and 1400 square feet of finished floor space, may involve 1250 hours of labor.

"Building a Habitat house is a great team-building exercise," says Matt. "It brings people together outside their usual work environment and, in the process, they create great memories. People not only get to help a family attain home ownership, they can see the fruit of their labors."

Habitat for Humanity Information

Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational Christian housing organization that builds simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with those who lack adequate shelter. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 50,000 houses with families throughout the United States and another 100,000-plus houses in communities around the world, providing safe, decent, affordable shelter for more than 750,000 people in more than 3,000 communities. Since 1984, Habitat of Evansville has built more than 250 homes.

For more information:
Partner Service Center
Habitat for Humanity Intl.
121 Habitat St., Americus,
GA 31709-3498
phone: 229-924-6935

Among the Atlas crew in 1999 was Human Resources Assistant Pam Briody, who remembers fondly the esprit de corps. "There were about ten of us who came faithfully every Saturday and worked from seven in the morning until two in the afternoon," says Pam. "It was especially gratifying to work with people who shared such a strong work ethic. We took great pride in seeing the house come to completion... it really looked nice when it was finished."

Looking back on the experience, Pam doesn't think of it as hard work. "For me, it was fun," says Pam. She is planning to join the 2004 project, even though she expects to experience a few more aches and pains as a result. "It may be a little harder for me physically to put in the hours," says Pam. "But I'll give it my best effort. Habitat is a good organization, and this is definitely worth it."




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