November 2012 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

 Featured News

Dear Care-A-Vanners,
On March 2nd, 2012, an EF3 tornado left an 86 mile long by one mile wide swath of destruction through East Central Kentucky. Known as the West Liberty tornado, it marched right through the middle of town with its 165 MPH winds, leaving 10 people dead, 75 injured, numerous business in heaps of debris and 500 housing units severely damaged or destroyed in an area that already had a huge need for low income housing. This would become the site of the RV Care-A-Vanner Program�s first Disaster Response led by Dan and Carolyn Banks and backed by teams of Care-A-Vanners.

For the last few days, Dave and I have had the pleasure to camp and work with these ambitious Care-A-Vanners. We did finish work on a house for a couple who lost everything in the tornado. On March 2nd, Charlie had just gotten home from the drug store 30 miles away with some critical medicine for his wife. He set it on the dining room table of their trailer, heard the tornado warnings and they quickly drove to a neighbor�s house that had a basement. In 14 seconds, their trailer was gone leaving only the dining room table with the medicine still on the table. Thank God, because it would be seven days before anyone from the outside world would get to them in that valley of destruction. A picture of their son was found 30 miles away!

We, the RV Care-A-Vanner Program, and all of you who have been to Morehead Disaster Response, are making a difference here in West Liberty. The conditions aren�t perfect. We have to drive sometimes up to an hour to our worksite. No one brings us lunches or snacks. Porta Potties are in short supply in the county and at our work sites, but our campground was donated by a family that used the property as a place to have cookouts and family events. Dan and Carolyn and their teams had done a great job �sprucing� the place up and putting the Care-A-Vanner touch on it. The people of these hills of Kentucky are some of the warmest and most giving people I have ever met. Helping them get back on their feet is something I want to see the RV Care-A-Vanner Program support for as long as it takes.

The RV Care-A-Vanners will have a long term presence here in West Liberty. Our team is wrapping up their build this year to be replaced by a Mennonite Disaster Relief team. I will be looking for house leaders for next season and scheduling builds in West Liberty and maybe in Morehead. So if you are looking to really make a difference to some people in need, consider signing up for a Kentucky Disaster Response build.

Mary Vandeveld

Team leader corner
Hello from Maine where, I am happy to say, we dodged a bullet from Hurricane Sandy. I hope all of you are safe and dry.

A great big "thank you" goes out to our OH SO WONDERFUL October Team Leaders. They are: Art and Ricky Beutler; Tommie and Sandra Brown; Randy and Pam Warner; Bill Oates; Doug Augustine; and Dan and Carolyn Banks who continue to lead the Disaster Response in Morehead, Kentucky.

This month I would like to say a few things about the Team Leader's role in managing expectations, both of the affiliate and the team. Most of our long term Care-A-Vanners have been on enough builds to know that no two are alike. We jokingly refer to "10 pound builds" when the provided lunches are especially good. But, we also know that affiliates who schedule several builds a year and those in small communities may have a harder time providing lunches. On the other hand, it may be easier for small towns to procure free camping at a Mom and Pop campground, while those in a popular tourist destination may have more trouble getting even discounted rates.

While most of us love the framing and dread the painting, we all need to be reminded from time-to-time that getting a family into safe and affordable housing is our ultimate goal and ALL tasks are important. A team leader plays an important role and keeping morale up and modeling flexibility.

Now, many affiliates are blown away by the amount of skill and energy a Care-A-Vanner team brings to a build site, but occasionally they need to be reminded that Care-A-Vanners are often retired, somewhat older, individuals who may not be able to work eight hour days for two weeks straight, especially in harsher weather conditions. While I believe that Care-A-Vanners should try to accommodate the affiliate's request for which days are worked, the Team Leader can certainly negotiate the length of the workday and pace, and call an early day when appropriate. In general, we find that a 6-7 hour workday, with breaks, is plenty.

So, Team Leaders, thank you for all you do and remember you can contact me at any time with questions or concerns.

Brenda Sawyer

Disaster Response

  • We are looking for house leaders for West Liberty starting in April 2013 and running through October 2013. Once I have house leaders in place, I will post builds on our webpage to support the house leaders. Can you read a blueprint, problem solve construction issues and lead a team of volunteers? Then you can be a house leader! To serve on an RV Care-A-Vanner team, no experience required. These builds are a very interesting geothermal design. So if you want to learn a new building technique, consider building in Kentucky next year.

  • We are in desperate need of help in Dry Ridge, KY. The AmeriCorps team that was working there got called up to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery. If you can help anytime between now and Thanksgiving, please contact me at:

  • Tuscaloosa, AL is looking for two CAV every two weeks through the winter and probably into next summer. They need help there, but they only have two RV spots. If you would like to find your own accommodations in Tuscaloosa, they would welcome your help.

  • The RV Care-A-Vanner Disaster Response training will be offered from March 18-22 in Americus, GA. If you are a capable house leader, we would encourage you to take the course. Camping will be provided. Plan to arrive on Sunday March 17th. If you are interested, contact Mary Vandeveld at: There will be more information in the December newsletter.

Birthday We�re having a Birthday Party, and you�re invited!

2014 marks the 25th year since the RV Care-A-Vanners began traveling the highways and by-ways of North America building homes for families in need of safe, decent, affordable housing. RV Care-A-Vanners has undergone considerable maturation since the early beginnings and we will unfold historical details over the coming newsletter articles.

For now, a committee is planning for an event in April, 2014, to mark the anniversary. The committee has a goal of offering an RV rally event in conjunction with a special anniversary-edition build. The location will be in the central part of the Unite States. So put that date on your calendar!

One important aspect of the program is to have the HFHI RV Care-A-Vanner Program completely fund the building project. For HFHI 25th anniversary celebration in 2001, the RV Care-A-Vanners funded and built 5 houses. Wouldn�t it be great if we could do that again?

As some of you approach the end-of-year and consider special contributions for tax purposes before Dec 31, please give this project your consideration. If you would like to make a contribution, please send your check to Habitat for Humanity, ATTN: Jennifer Skudlarek at 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709, check clearly marked for 2014 CAV Anniversary Build.

Committee contacts are Jane and Joe Gano and we welcome all expressions of help, ideas and support. The goal is to have an event that provides a wonderful experience in a celebratory environment for a large group of like-minded RVers who Travel With a Purpose.

Joe and Jane Gano

Habitat for Humanity International's Annual Legislative Conference

With a new Congress starting in January, it will be critical for Habitat for Humanity to reach as many members of Congress as possible to voice an important message about the value and role of affordable homeownership.

Habitat for Humanity International's seventh annual legislative conference provides that opportunity, and promises unique networking opportunities, valuable advocacy skills training, and the chance to hear, firsthand, from policy experts.

Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR, will deliver the keynote address and share her insights on the 2012 presidential and congressional elections as well as political trends beyond the Beltway.

Habitat on the Hill 2013 should not be missed!

Monday, February 4, 2013 - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
2800 Potomac Avenue
Arlington, Virginia 22202 USA

View Event Summary
View Event Agenda

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Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Harwood and Beth Armitage, Timothy Anderson and Sandra Belford, Jim and Barbara Brown, Warren and Rita Howard, Marie Ishida, John Jurgensen, Bradley and Gail Lancour, Barbara Ludwig and Kathy McCraigh.

My apologies if I have included a seasoned Care-A-Vanner or if this is a duplication. Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the work that you do!

 Safety Corner

Improving Safety at the Affiliates

What I would like to address this month is a way we can improve jobsite safety and feel very positive about it. Recently I was at a build where the affiliate was short of needed tools and had some extension cords that�s ends were exposing individual wires.

Two very positive actions occurred. We, our Care-A-Vanner team, chipped in and purchased the needed tools for the affiliate. In addition, one of our team also dedicated a half a day to fixing all the bad extension cord ends. In essence, we left the affiliate with better equipment than when we came. This will benefit the affiliate in the future as well as make building easier and safer for the next Care-A-Vanner team and local volunteers.

This hit me like a brick. In the past I've been on teams where we made a donation to the affiliate but never purchased equipment or fixed safety problems. As you travel to different builds, consider a team assessment of what the affiliate could use to improve safety, and purchase an item to that end for the affiliate.

Your team will enjoy the benefit of the safety equipment as well as future Care-A-Vanner teams to follow. Also, having a team member dedicating some time to, in our case, repair the extension cord ends benefits everybody as well.

Work safe,
Frank Peccia

Questions, cancellations or concerns?
1-800-HABITAT, ext. 7534
1-229-410-7534 (direct)
RV CAV staff contact info

Team Leaders needed
Email Brenda if you are available.
  • Nov. 11-25, Dry Ridge, KY (Disaster Response)
  • Nov. 25-Dec. 9, Mandeville, LA
  • Jan. 6-20, Thibodaux, LA (Note: this build will show up as "full" because we are keeping a spot open for Team Leaders. If you can lead this build, let me know and we will get you registered)

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