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Soldiers volunteer in Waimea with Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii

<p>A soldier from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu helps to paint a house during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii volunteer day on Sept. 2 in Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

A soldier from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu helps to paint a house during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii volunteer day on Sept. 2 in Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>Soldiers from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu stop for a photo during the Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2 in Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

Soldiers from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu stop for a photo during the Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2 in Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>A soldier and a volunteer work together during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2.(PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

A soldier and a volunteer work together during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2.(PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>Soldiers from from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu help clear a yard during a a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

Soldiers from from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu help clear a yard during a a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>Volunteers remove trees and help clear a yard during a Habitat for Hawaii West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

Volunteers remove trees and help clear a yard during a Habitat for Hawaii West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>A soldier clears a yard during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

A soldier clears a yard during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

<p>Soldiers from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu and area volunteers pose for a photo during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)</p>

Soldiers from Company B, 52 IN based on Oahu and area volunteers pose for a photo during a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii work day on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

Soldiers, volunteers and Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii staff help work on a house in Waimea on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)
Soldiers, volunteers and Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii staff help work on a house in Waimea on Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HHWH FOR NHN)

On Sept. 2, Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii partnered with a new group of volunteers —almost 40 soldiers from Company B, 52 IN. The Oahu based military unit came to the Big Island for just three weeks to train, but the soldiers felt it was important to help the community, so they asked if they could work with Habitat for Humanity for a day.

The soldiers volunteered on two sites in Kuhio Village of the Hawaiian Home Lands. The projects were part of Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which is focused on strengthening neighborhoods and building community. The projects so far have ranged greatly – from new construction, to critical repairs, to handicap accessibility, exterior paintings, and deconstruction.

Monday proved no different, as the first project was a major yard clean-up. The site was a home of a current partner family, the Key ohana, that received a critical home repair. To improve the quality and safety of the home, the volunteers first cleared out the yard of old debris and scraps. Even after 15 days straight of rigorous training, the soldiers proved their efficiency and teamwork, as they finished hours before the estimated time of completion. With their strength in numbers, the entire lot was cleared before lunch.

Neighbors of Kuhio Village came together and cooked an amazing meal for the soldiers. It is not easy to feed 40 hungry volunteers, but the collaboration headed by neighbor and Habitat partner family Gwen Ahana made it possible.

The soldiers next worked at the Berdon home, another partner family that received critical repairs and a deconstruction of their dilapidated greenhouse. The soldiers once again showed their incredible teamwork and cleared the site without breaking a sweat.

The Habitat for Hawaii workers said they were grateful to the soldiers who volunteered their time, and grateful to the neighbors who all contributed to welcoming, hosting, and feeding the volunteers.

“We were so honored to work such a hardworking group of men who deemed local community service just as important as the service to their country,” said AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Erin Stephens. “The immediate impact they made was tremendous, and the ripple effect from their efforts will go miles as we continue to serve as many families as possible.”