Lowe’s has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for more than a decade to build homes and revitalize communities around the country. To experience this partnership firsthand, we were invited to the build during the 2015 Kobalt 400 Nascar race on the weekend of 3/7 and 3/8. It was amazing.
Each year, Lowe’s teams with Habitat to complete hundreds of home builds. Since the beginning of their partnership, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat and helped nearly 4,000 families improve their living conditions. Along with funding, Lowe’s provides the support of its employee volunteers (that means us, too). Heck, even Jimmie Johnson and a couple of his crew guys got in there and were swinging hammers.
Marty and I couldn’t wait to get in there and get busy. We know our way around jack studs and trusses but we were worried this was going to be very ceremonial and we’d stand around, take a few pics, eat some cookies, and be whisked off back to the hotel for cocktail hour. Boy, were we pleasantly surprised. We were able to toss on some hardhats, grab a framing hammer, and get right into it.
Since we were building this house at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there was a display of 2x6s and magic markers for the Nascar fans to write well-wishes on the lumber. Once a 2×6 was filled with names and words of support it would be removed, built into the house, and replaced with a clean one. It was a beautiful site seeing how many people were crowded in to sign the lumber. Practically every square inch was covered with kind words. Even Jimmie and his crew members got in on the action and signed 2x6s:
We got in on the lumber-signing action as well.
We wish we had shot more video but we didn’t have enough time. Here’s a walk-by of the house before raising the final truss in front of the Jimmie fans.
I carried so much lumber that my arms are still like this.
Thanks for letting us help build this home. @habitatforhumanity @loweshomeimprovement and @lowesracing #kobalt400 A photo posted by Dadand.com – Pete and Marty (@dadandblog) on
The Habitat crew had been building at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since Wednesday. On Sunday morning we arrived at the track early to see Jimmie Johnson present the “key” to the Camarena family. We weren’t sure what to expect at the key ceremony, but we surely didn’t expect to be crying like someone was chopping up a 5 lb. bag of onions. If you could have seen them accepting their key and how grateful they were and how happy they were and how excited they were you’d have volunteered right then and there.
“It’s so moving to meet the family and see their excitement. It helps pull your mind into their situation. I think they were in a two-bedroom apartment with seven people. I just can’t even imagine that. So, to have a home that can adequately suit them and provide for them; and then they don’t have to worry about it, financially. So, the opportunity it gives this family, a wonderful family, is just awesome.” -Jimmie Johnson
Let’s talk a little bit about Habitat for Humanity and some things you might be wondering.
- Can I volunteer? I can’t even find my own butt with both hands. – YES! You can. Habitat needs more help. Your skill set doesn’t matter. Habitat people are nice, they’ll find a way for you to help and they’ll teach you things. You won’t be treated like a newb. By the time you leave a build you’ll have a little more confidence in your abilities and you’ll help change someone’s life.
- So, I go in there and build a house that someone gets for FREE? No! You grinch. Families selected for a Habitat home complete a minimum of 300 hours (per adult living in the home) of “sweat equity”, working on other Habitat Home construction sites. The families purchase their homes and are required to pay a mortgage and a percentage of closing costs. It’s affordable, but it’s most definitely NOT a free house. You can go here to learn more. But even if it WAS free, you should still be helping out other humans.
- I don’t even know where to sign up. Ever heard of the internet, yeah I guess you have, you’re on our site. OK, well go to habitat.org and find your local organization and sign up.
- So, you built a home in the parking lot of the speedway? Don’t worry, we build it in sections that can be disassembled, transferred to Henderson, NV, and completed on a lot in partnership with the Camarena family. In June, Arturo and Maria Camarena, and their five daughters, will get to move into their new home.
BUT Lowe’s wasn’t done with us. We still had the race on Sunday.
But that’s another post…
A photo posted by Dadand.com – Pete and Marty (@dadandblog) on
A huge THANK YOU to Lowe’s for taking us on this amazing journey.
And thank you to everyone who made our weekend smooth as silk.