Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity could not function without the dedication of thousands of volunteers each year. Thanks to these individuals’ generosity, time, and hard work we can help families in need of safe, affordable housing in Milwaukee and around the globe. Each year, we take time to recognize those volunteers who go above and beyond to further our vision of building a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Here are 2017’s Volunteer Awards Winners, honored on May 10th at our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party:
Grace Morgan Volunteer of the Year – Brie Skolaski
Bryanne Skolaski , or Brie as we know her on-site and around the office, first started with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in May of 2012, when she joined HYP (Habitat Young Professionals). That September she joined us during the Build Week, and fell in love with Habitat – the mission, the people, and the work.
Brie has volunteered countless Saturdays as part of HYP, as well as an individual volunteer. This coming June will also be the 6th Build Week that Brie has participated in. She has been on 5 Global Village trips (four of them to El Salvador, and one to Guatemala; the last four trips she has lead). Brie has been on the HYP Board since 2014, first as the Global Village Chair, and now as the Chair.
“Every time I volunteer, I find myself in awe with the amount of kind, caring, compassionate people in this world, who give their time to help others. Building with Habitat isn’t just about building a house for someone, its about building a home, and helping them change their lives.”
ReStore Volunteer of the Year – Mary Nash
People that work with Mary know that she is very versatile! Especially in the recent months, she has shown an eagerness to jump in wherever she is needed to lend a hand.
In addition to learning how to process items in different departments, Mary was willing to jump in to cashier training to be able to help at the front.
Her friendly personality and passion for the Habitat mission adds so much value to the store. Mary supports the ReStore and the Habitat Mission not only by volunteering her time, but by donating her used items. Thank you, Mary, for all you do to help the ReStore!
Golden Hammer Award – Jim Lambe
He started as an AmeriCorps member and worked as one for two years, where he developed his construction and site leadership skills alongside other AmeriCorps members and volunteers. Jim loved Habitat so much that even after we stopped paying him, he still came out! Jim is now one of our Habituals who comes out several days a week, when he isn’t traveling around the warmer parts of the country in the winter months, but we miss him when he’s gone!
In 2015 Jim took another step along his Milwaukee Habitat journey by joining our Board of Directors. Jim continues to be a huge asset on site where he is not only willing to do pretty much anything, but he is happy to lead others while doing it!
We are so happy to have Jim as one of our loyal construction Habituals, and look forward to his continuing participation at Milwaukee Habitat – on the build site, in the board room, and beyond!
Nuts & Bolts Award – Clark Higgins
Clark Higgins began volunteering with Milwaukee Habitat in 1993, when a friend of his introduced him to Jean Leslie, who asked if he could help upgrade the accounting system from Quicken to QuickBooks, and he agreed to help.
At that time he was also the Treasurer of the United States Curling Association and had just completed the installation of QuickBooks as their accounting system, so he was very familiar with the process.
Clark enjoyed getting to know Jean, Ann Van Dunk and the rest of the Habitat team, so it was only natural for him to continue to volunteer with us as an accountant.
We have grown from no in-house accountants to a great team today, and we cannot thank Clark enough for being part of our team here at Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity!
Clark says, “I have seen Habitat grow over the years. From an office in the Next Door Foundation building, to North Avenue, to Booth Street. It has been an amazing success story.”
Habitat Hero – Robert Cagle
Robert Cagle, Jr. is a Habitat homeowner, father of six, and is a Habitat Hero in his community, closing on his home in November 2016. Robert does not shy away from hard work: since the beginning of his partnership with MHFH Robert was eager to complete his Sweat Equity, which was completed in 8 months with many more hours not taken into account. Robert enjoyed working at the different build sites and he volunteered whenever he was off, donating those extra hours to other Partner Families who needed them. Even after doing all the work he has done with Milwaukee Habitat, Robert still makes time to serve others.
Robert has really been an asset to the WP neighborhood, by partnering with Washington Park Partners (WPP), as well as being a leader in the community and for the youth in his neighborhood. As Robert was preparing to close, he was also working with WPP to plan and organize their 1st Annual Christmas Dinner and Gift Giveaway for the children of Washington Park, which was a huge success. This event inspired Robert and his sister to begin mentoring the youth in the WPP neighborhood. They have started the groundwork for an afterschool Teen Club. This Teen Club will give youth an opportunity to plan events in the neighborhood and provide them with productive things to do to impact the lives of others. Even though Robert is a new homeowner he continues to mentor new homeowners in the program, and is always willing to be a spokesperson for Habitat.
Check out photos from our Volunteer Appreciation Party