No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

04.03.12 | By Preet Bilinski

The other day, a number of my colleagues and I headed to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C., which PhRMA has been volunteering with since 2007. This year we were working in the Ivy City neighborhood, the location for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter work project, two years ago. Each year since 1984, former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, give a week of their time to help Habitat for Humanity build homes. The Carter Work Project is an annual reminder of the desperate, ongoing need for decent, affordable homes worldwide. But it is also a reminder of the power of hope and the strength in numbers.

Our group of volunteers was split into smaller groups and delegated with different tasks. My team started the day at a house with no floor, with the goal to finish laying down the insulation and maybe start on the subfloor. For those of you like me, who don't know what a subfloor is, it's the plywood that is laid over the floor joists. Apparently it's one of the most fundamental elements of the interior. Our team tackled our task with such gusto that we had finished the insulation and laid out the majority of the subfloor, all before it was time for lunch.

That's not to say everything went so smoothly; there are always a few fun stories from days like these.

  • After the crew supervisors warned us about making our way across the room prior to the floor being laid down, telling us to walk on the floor joists, or on the 2 by 4's, leave it to me to fall through the insulation. No one was hurt - really, I was just getting it out of the way, so the rest of my team didn't have to have that fear looming over their heads for the rest of the day.
  • There was fencing that had to be loaded into the cab of a truck. The first piece was no problem until we realized that in order to lay the remaining pieces in we would have to lug each piece of fencing all the way around the truck. Halfway through, another volunteer noted, moving the truck probably would have made that a lot easier. Hindsight is 20/20
  • There was wheel barrow racing; again no one was hurt.

All in all it was a fun day, you can see pictures on our Facebook page. We had volunteers ranging from those with no experience to those that are licensed contractors, but everyone pitched in and worked together and a lot was accomplished. One volunteer felt so empowered by the end of the day, she wanted to go out and buy her own tool belt. It was great to help Habitat for Humanity but we got a lot back from the experience as well. It really made me appreciate my home and feel good to help someone else have their own, because after all there's no place like home.

Follow Preet on Twitter @PreetAtPhRMA

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