I live in Hopkins, Missouri, with my wife, Judy, and have a small row crop farming operation growing corn and soybeans. We have three grown children and five darling granddaughters from 18 months to 8 years old scattered on both the East and West coasts and right in the middle of the country. I have been with Habitat for Humanity since 2004 serving on the board and as construction manager in our county.
In 2011 I took the Disaster Corps training in New Orleans. After that I helped in Lucedale, Mississippi, helping to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. I returned again in 2012 to lead more spring break college students, which I really enjoyed. Next I went to Toms River, New Jersey, and worked on recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
My wife and I are also active Habitat Care-A-Vanners. We have gone to builds in Mankato, Minnesota, and Marquette, Michigan as well as the 25th anniversary build in Springfield, Missouri. The Care-A-Vanners is a great program where we meet lots of other Habitat couples from all walks of life dedicated to helping people with a hand up and not a hand out.
My wife and I are very active in the American Red Cross. After both of us retired, we decided it was important to give back to God for the many blessings we have received by volunteering to help those in need or less fortunate and who have suffered from disasters. We have been to Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; Joplin, Mo.; New York; New Jersey; Moore, Okla.; Peoria, Ill.; and Denver, Colo., for floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. We also help locally when fire strikes our community. Some of our responsibilities were disaster assessment, feeding and sheltering, logistics, client case work, call centers and driving the Mobile Response Unit vehicle.
Through Disaster Corps and the American Red Cross we have found fulfillment, friendships and have learned a lot from the different parts of the country we have been to and the people we have met and worked with. We believe it is important to keep an open mind, learn from the people we work with by listening to their needs while helping them with their disasters.
Read more about Don on the Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity blog: Disaster Corps deploys two volunteers to NOHFH since Sandy