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Snowy surprise


National Women Build Week volunteers in Billings, Montana, braved snow and cold to get Danielle Elizondo’s family closer to their new home.

National Women Build Week: Billings, Montana

May in Montana is synonymous with unpredictable weather, and Habitat for Humanity Mid-Yellowstone Valley’s women volunteers in Billings, Montana, encountered the proof.

Earlier this week had been extremely windy and the prediction for our build day looked bad: a 40 percent chance of rain and cold. As the week progressed the forecast became dismal—a 100 percent chance of snow, with two inches by morning, a high of 37 degrees and 100 percent chance of continued precipitation throughout the day!

Not necessarily a horrible fate for a construction crew in the northern United States, but we were planning to work outside—with no roof—installing windows and putting up vinyl siding. Our donated sports drink would need to be changed to hot cocoa and our National Women Build Week T-shirts would likely be covered with layers of clothing and jackets!

Unfortunately the prediction proved correct—the white stuff was there in the morning, and it continued to fall on and off throughout the day, with a bit of wind; flakes sometimes small, then huge, then small again. The sun tried to poke out, but to no avail.


Some of Habitat Mid-Yellowstone Valley’s toughest volunteers.

Did that stop our 30 volunteers (25 of whom were women) from working hard all day? Not in the least! Smiles and laughter abounded. There were no complaints, just lots of coffee and cocoa consumed. These hardy Montana women (and men) proceeded to accomplish even more than was planned, and they had fun doing it in spite of the weather. Scott Sanders, the Human Resources manager at our local Lowe’s store, shared his appreciation of the partnership with our affiliate, and one of the Lowe’s volunteers received an award for the “Most Nails Hit!”

One comment at lunch—warm chili from Wendy’s—was what a blast it was working together! A local TV station interviewed staff and partner family members, including mother Danielle Elizondo, who looked at ease in front of the camera. Elizondo worked hard, too, and thanked all the volunteers who came out and braved the weather to help make further progress on the house that she and her two children will soon call home.

Debra Dusenbury is the volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Mid-Yellowstone Valley in Billings, Montana. Learn more about Habitat Mid-Yellowstone Valley at