A Few Things I Have Learned Posted April 5, 2015 by Laura van Leliveld


Written by Amy Realy, partner family and volunteer extraordinary delivered on the day of her home dedication

Here are a few things that I have learned from some dedicated Habitat volunteers and others:

  • Dave Boyd taught me that the favorite guy on the job site is the one who provides the food.
  • Bruce Bucklin proved to me that you can be a newlywed at any age.
  • When there’s no ready solution for a problem, call Jim Cash and you’ll have a creative solution in no time.
  • Andrew Cunningham taught me that when you’re thrown from a mountain bike, if you dust off and get back on your bike before the next person comes around the corner, it doesn’t count.
  • From Wes Demory, I learned how NOT to hammer like a girl.
  • When Craig Dettmer and I were putting on a roof in 97 degree weather, we learned that it is above the melting point of sneaker soles. I also learned that a deck should not be higher than the floor inside the house.
  • From Rich Feickert, I learned that if you lose your favorite utility knife, not only can’t you work, but everyone around you is so distracted by you that they can’t work either. Granted, it only cost $1.50, but it’s yours. I also learned that I can hear every word he says, even when he makes me plug my ears for “guy talk”.
  • Kevin and Nancy Fitzpatrick have shown me that no matter how crazy your life gets, you can still make time to help others.
  • Rich Galloway has taught me the meaning of “quietly competent.”
  • Carolyn Green has shown dedication to Habitat’s mission. Spending countless hours organizing fundraisers and barn parties to fund the building.
  • When Bud Green bellows “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa” it brings the work to a dead halt and strikes fear in the hearts of all those who have made a mistake that day.
  • I also learned that if we’re eyeballing a measurement and I need ½” cut off a board, I tell Bud to take ¼”off and it fits every time. After all, men and women have a different perception of size.
  • Pete and Vicki Harmatuk, sometimes you find family that you were not born into.
  • For Peter Kloskey, no job is too small, dirty, or thankless. And you can never have too much lawn furniture on the job site.
  • From Bill Maykrantz, I learned that if you talk about something for long enough, someone else will go ahead and do it.
  • Dave Pritchard taught me that I can build my own workbench and it really works.
  • Steve Vaughn taught me what the expression “he’d give the shirt off his back” really means.
  • Muitoni –another good friend who shows steadfast dedication to a cause and  taught me how a carpet is laid.
  • From Julie, James, John, Therese and other Habitat Staff, I learned that not everyone goes to work for the money. Some work for the love of humanity.
  • From my parents, Paul and Ann Gerstner, I learned how to give selflessly to others. Who knew that I would end up here today?
  • My daughter Katie is an old soul. Even with all her wisdom and insight, I’ll still have to explain this term to her later.
  • My son Ethan has taught me that our children become our teachers and there are many things we never would have learned if not for them.
  • Bill Baker taught me that fairy tale love is real and exists outside of children’s stories.
  • Lastly, I learned that hammers build houses, but it’s the hearts behind the hammers which build homes.