Moving for the mission |

Moving for the mission

Photo by Randy Wyrick/rwyrick@vaildaily.comBernadette Anders, left, and Juliette Martinez, both students at Red Canyon High School, help assemble shelves at Habitat for Humanity's new Outlet Store location in Eagle. Volunteers, including dozens of high school students and local companies, helped with the move.

GYPSUM – Dozens of excited teenagers, some heavy equipment operators and an army of volunteers have worked together to relocate the Habitat for Humanity Outlet Store to a new location.

Habitat for Humanity’s new Outlet Store opens Tuesday in Eagle, at 751 Chambers Ave.

Red Canyon High School has an entire class dedicated to Habitat for Humanity in which they learn pretty much everything they need to know in life.

“We’ve had the class for a few months now, and we’ve learned all sorts of things,” said Juliette Martinez, a Red Canyon student hammering together shelves she’d helped take apart at the Outlet Store’s Gypsum location.

Just this week they’ve learned that power tools are to be respected and properly handled, but not feared, Martinez said.

They can frame your house, put on new siding and plan the whole thing through what they’ve learned in this class.

“And you get to hang out with really cool people,” said Bernadette Anders, another Red Canyon student.

When they’re not lifting and moving and hauling and stacking, they work on Habitat’s Fox Hollow project – a development of homes Habitat for Humanity has been building in Edwards.

Mary Ann Stavney, Eagle Valley High School’s speech team coach, herded up 47 volunteering high school seniors to the former Outlet Store in Gypsum. They’re learning how individuals help or hinder society.

Helping society is a wide spectrum, and it’s all part their activism theme, Stavney said.

“We define activism in two ways: Influencing others for positive change, and helping create a world we want to live in,” Stavney said. “The goal is to get them to understand they largely create the world they want to live in.”

That may be high toned rhetoric for packing boxes, hauling stuff from one warehouse to another, and throwing enough away to fill two massive dumpsters, but it’s all part of life’s lessons.

“Everyone seems to respect that we’re all in this together,” Stavney said.

A local crane company donated an entire day to help – time and expertise that usually costs hundreds of dollars an hour. A trucking company did the same, as did other local organizations and volunteers.

The list of helpers goes on and on.

The local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, is 15 years old this year. In those years they’ve built 27 homes – a few in Leadville and the rest in Eagle County.

In 2002, locals began donating all kinds of stuff that ended up stacked in garages and anywhere else staffers could stash it. Former Habitat for Humanity construction manager Todd Horn started organizing garage sales in the county’s old road and bridge department building, which is was sharing with Vail Mountain Rescue.

The Outlet Store opened in 2005 in Gypsum and annual sales now top about seven figures.

The Inn at Beaver Creek stuffed the store with beds, armoires, phones and drapes – everything you find in a high class hotel room was soon for sale in Habitat’s Outlet Store.

One woman donated a two-year-old double-wide mobile home that she had lived in while she was building her new home.

Ski lockers, custom cabinets that didn’t suit the home owner, furniture and housewares of every description have also been donated, and it all had to be moved and put on display before Tuesday’s opening in Eagle.

Staff writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at

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