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Buckley Airmen volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Volunteers from the 566th Intelligence Squadron pose for a group photo at the site of a Habitat for Humanity home build Feb. 12. The 566th IS is a tenant unit on Buckley Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Volunteers from the 566th Intelligence Squadron pose for a group photo at the site of a Habitat for Humanity home build Feb. 12. The 566th IS is a tenant unit on Buckley Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Just hours after the sun made its penetrating glare over the horizon, a group of Airmen from Buckley Air Force Base stood ready for battle. On this 12th day of February, 2010, these Airmen were not armed to fight the war on terror in Iraq or Afghanistan, but instead armed to fight the war against poverty and homelessness in their own backyards. Thirty warriors from the 566th Intelligence Squadron faced freezing temperatures and winds for eight hours in support of the Denver chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The habitat site for this project was located in Denver. The Airmen from the 566th IS were welcomed by cheerful construction crews and volunteers. After a safety briefing and acquisition of the needed gear and equipment (hammers, nails, drills, hard hats, protective goggles, et cetera), they separated into multiple groups based on needs and skill-sets.

Several of the larger groups put up siding throughout all the garage units while others worked on the rooftops and framing from the foundation level. Although the experience level of nearly every volunteer was minimal to nil, in a short amount of time they learned the necessary skills and executed to near perfection. The 240 man-hours put into this build-site helped push the timeline ahead of schedule two weeks.

This particular project will be the first "transit-oriented development" built by the Denver chapter. Located within walking distance to the Colorado-Evans light rail system, this build will help minimize commuting expenses, which pose the second largest cost to families. Families who move into this development will contribute 250-500 hours of "sweat-equity" to help build their future investment.

The selflessness the volunteers demonstrated is a reflection of the selflessness that created Habitat for Humanity. Although Millard and Linda Fuller were self-made millionaires by the age of 29, they lacked the spiritual and emotional wealth to be happy. The Fullers felt that their monetary wealth was better spent helping others, and thus, found their true calling. In 1979 they founded the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity and have since housed more than 1.75 million people through 350,000 homes.

Whether it is ducking behind a bunker while the sounds of enemy fire fly overhead, convoying through the streets of Kandahar looking for improvised explosive devices or working two jobs to feed and clothe your children, everyone is fighting some sort of battle. Fortunately, there are services and great people that are willing to help. Through these trials and tribulations, true heroes are born.

Habitat for Humanity and the 30 volunteers from Buckley Air Force Base displayed true leadership and inspiration as they helped put together Denver's 400th home in the never-ending fight against homelessness.
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