Optimists hear from Habitat for Humanity staff member

Colin Bruning, volunteer coordinator of Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan, spoke to the Optimist Club of Alpena at their recent morning breakfast meeting held at JJ’s Steak and Pizza House.

Bruning graduated from Alpena High School. He then attended Grand Rapids Community College and later graduated from Calvin College with a degree in organizational communications. Being an active member of the Alpena community, he has had his position at Habitat for the last two years.

Bruning said that Habitat is about “putting God’s love into action.” He also said that what Habitat does as a ministry is to provide different avenues for members of the community and that there are many benefits of volunteering: it is a blessing to see how people are changed; participants receive some of the fundamentals of life through the building, development and construction of a home; and they get opportunities to grow and become the very best community members possible.

As for the new home owners, they get to see how a house is built from the ground-up. They experience the sequence, the process, the principles, the involvement of community members, the donations and the partnership. Families must build, care and maintain the home.

Right now there are two homes in the building process in the Alpena area. One home is located on Long Lake Avenue and one on Spratt Street. Habitat not only builds new homes, but they repair and renovate old construction.

The renovation consists of two main types of construction: Brush of Kindness for those repairs that make the house nicer for the occupants, and critical home repairs necessary for people to live in the house. Habitat frequently reaches out to aid veterans in this area.

The cost of building and repairing has been reduced due to volunteers, land donations and gifts in-kind, which donates construction materials.

“As a ship needs its mates, Habitat needs its volunteers,” Bruning said. “We depend on youth, adults, churches, organizations, businesses and community service members. Habitat is us. We don’t do this alone. We need the community.”

According to Ted Fines, executive director of Habitat, the mission is that everyone should have a decent place to live. Consider becoming a volunteer to help accomplish this mission. Contact Habitat at 354-5555 or habitatnemi.org.


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