“When my husband passed away in late 2016, I felt a vacancy in my life that needed filling. Thanks to church friends who were already involved with Habitat for Humanity, I learned about their work in Rabun County and that even someone of my age and gender could be of use.”
That’s how Mary Flanigen first became involved with Habitat Rabun’s build crew and helped build her first Habitat home in 2017. And she has been a valued and loyal member ever since.
For a long time, I admired Jimmy Carter’s determination to leave a legacy that goes far beyond any of the accomplishments he might have claimed during his four years as President of the United States. Habitat of Humanity seemed to me to be worthwhile not only as a charitable organization but also as an opportunity for people of like minds to work together as a team to provide hope, dignity, and assistance to our neighbors in need of a fresh start, Mary said.
It has had its challenges, such as learning to use tools and skills unfamiliar to her. Mary said her biggest challenge overall has been to ignore bad weather and wear the proper clothes to protect her against the sun, accidents, and a lot of mud!
Her best advice for anyone considering joining the construction crew would be to look, listen, and ask questions from the start. “I have learned a few new skills and a lot of understanding of the frustrations, setbacks, hard labor, knowledge, skills, and experience that go into the construction of a house,” said Mary. “However, the most meaningful thing was to learn to respect the kindness, courteous manners, and camaraderie of the entire team of workers.”
Mary adds that people of all ages, skill levels and gender will be welcomed on a team. If you would like to join Mary on the build team, click here to learn more.