Much to Celebrate/More to Build –Knoxville to India Volunteer Bios
Robert W. “Bob” Harris
Bob Harris lives in West Knoxville, and has been a resident of Tennessee for 23 years. He started working as a member of the Tuesday/Thursday Habitat crew in 2001 and worked at Habitat’s Thrift store for more than a year.
“I feel honored to be selected as part of the crew to visit India and participate in the 200,001st build. This will be an adventure to remember,” he said.
Marvin L. House
Marvin House lives with his wife, Janie, in Blaine, Tenn. He is chief executive officer of a large construction company, Merit Construction Inc. He is a professional engineer and has been in the construction industry for more than 30 years.
The Houses have done volunteer work for many years. Both volunteered for a year in the mountains of Appalachia with The Christian Appalachian Project assisting families much the same as Habitat for Humanity does. Marvin House is on the board of Knoxville Habitat for Humanity and has served as treasurer.
He is excited about working in India on the 200,001st Habitat house at the same time his affiliate in Knoxville is building the 200,000’th Habitat house there. Janie House will be staying in Knoxville and assisting with the 200,000th build.
Dick Graham retired after 30 years as an engineer/manager at the Lockheed Martin manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He has volunteered eight years with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. On weekdays he does construction preparation and Saturdays he works as a crew leader. He also helped a Habitat affiliate in Loudon County, Tenn., train volunteers and crew leaders.
Dick is a military veteran and a volunteer member of the East Tennessee Honor Guard, which performs funerals for U.S. military veterans. He has a wife, Lee, and a daughter, Rebecca.
“God led me to Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those who need them,” Graham said. “He is also leading me to India as part of my church's international mission outreach program.”
Allan Ellstrom’s first experience with Knoxville Habitat was in 1995, when Peace Lutheran Church joined with a couple of other churches to build a home. They did it again in 1997, the same year he volunteered at Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project in Rugby, Tenn. In 1998, he became a regular volunteer with Knoxville Habitat. Several years ago he was asked to be a crew leader and now helps other volunteers to shingle, install siding and do interior trim. Ellstrom took part in a Habitat for Humanity International Global Village trip to Leon, Nicaragua, in 2001.
“A trip to India was not something I had anticipated doing this year,” he said. “When I was offered the chance, I said I was interested. I was surprised and happy when I learned that I was one of the ones selected to go.
“I am looking forward to going someplace new and that I had never considered visiting. It will be great to work with other volunteers from around the world to help build homes for deserving people, especially in an area that had seen so much death and destruction last year.”