Vail Daily helps build Habitat homes |

Vail Daily helps build Habitat homes

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley hosts team building day

Earlier this month the staff at the Vail Daily stepped away from the computers and put the story writing on hold to lend a hand to the local Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley (HFHVV) chapter.  This volunteer opportunity was a fun way for the staff to do a little bonding and team building while making a difference in the lives of the family that will soon move into their new home.

Since 1995, HFHVV has built over 74 homes, with 40 of those homes currently being built in the Stratton Flats development in Gypsum. The goal is to build decent homes with an affordable mortgage so families can achieve strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. 

Volunteer hours are a big part of the HFHVV model. “We estimate that we save over $350,000 a year through volunteer labor. That’s about 17,000 hours that volunteers contribute at the job site,” said Julie Kapala, marketing and communications manager for HFHVV.

In addition to the volunteers, the families have to put in what’s called sweat equity. Future homeowners need to give their time and provide consistent and active participation at the construction site. Each adult family member is required to put in 250 hours of sweat equity.

The day our team from the Vail Daily was there, we worked alongside Nancy Chavez, who will be the proud owner of a Habitat home in the new IK Bar development in Gypsum. It was Chavez’s first day of volunteering.

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Although Chavez was nervous about what tasks she’d be doing and if she would know how to help out, the HFHVV team made her feel comfortable right away. “The team is very patient, they explain everything and let us get very comfortable with the tools,” Chavez said. “I feel like I will be able to work more proficiently when we start building our house at IK Bar with all this practice.”

Mike Colores, who is with AmeriCorps and is doing an 11-month stint with HFHVV, said that it’s great working with volunteers because no matter what skill level they have, he always sees them progress throughout the day.

“I see them understand the importance and significance of the work we do out here, It’s a really rewarding feeling to be able to see the other volunteers understand and appreciate what goes on here at Habitat. Every day amazes me,” Colores said.

The Vail Daily team faired pretty well and made great progress on the home we were building. We had our publisher, Mark Wurzer, editor, Nate Peterson and even reporter Randy Wyrick up on the scaffolding working the nail gun and the electric buzz saw down below as we measured, cut and placed siding on the home. It was a fun way to get out of the office but still do something as a team and make a difference in the lives of local families.

If you are interested in volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley projects, contact them at

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