Three Communities Accept the Challenge

The 21st Century Challenge

Meet the Simmons Family

Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003
Volunteers - Valdosta, Ga.

Lafarge lends both corporate
and hands-on support to project
By Shawn Reeves

Without certain preliminary support, Habitat volunteers would have no means to work.

One group lending such support is Lafarge North America, Inc., whose Palatka, Fla., plant is providing the drywall for all three Jimmy Carter Work Project sites this year. (A partner in Habitat for Humanity International’s More Than Houses fund-raising campaign, Lafarge has supported Habitat for Humanity through a pledge of $1.5 million in cash and product.)

Located about 50 miles south of Jacksonville, Lafarge’s Palatka plant also has designated two teams of nine volunteers each to work on the Valdosta site. The first team worked through Tuesday, and the other started Wednesday and works through Friday.

For first-time Habitat volunteer Jack Francis, who serves as controller at the Florida plant, the experience has exceeded his expectations.

“Everything is what I thought it would be and more,” he says. “I knew it would be good, but not this good.”

Francis says the experience has proved meaningful for the rest of his team, as well, not only because of the value they see in decent housing and in working with the homeowner, Beverly Tucker, but also because of the team-building aspect.

“This provides a great opportunity for us to see how our product is used,” says Francis, “to see the corporation as a whole and some of the things it gets involved with.”

Still, it comes back to decent housing and to the family who will make their home there. “For me, it gets back to attitude,” Francis says.

“When you have a nice place to come home to,” says Francis, “it’s easier to keep a positive attitude about life, and that kind of attitude opens up new opportunities.”

Along with countless other partners who support Habitat in so many ways, Lafarge is helping open these new opportunities for a lot of families, not the least of whom are the 92 who will secure better housing by this week’s end.

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