Habitat For Humanity Hammerbird 5k

Joel Sandman, GRI
Joel Sandman, GRI
Published on April 24, 2018

This weekend I had the pleasure of participating in Habitat for Humanity‘s Hammerbird 5k. For those of you who saw me earlier in the week, you know it was an accomplishment for me just being able to walk it! I threw out my back last weekend and spent the next 4-5 days basically crawling from room to room.

This is such a great event and reminds everyone of why Habitat for Humanity is such a noble cause. There were 305 runners in attendance along with many great sponsors. We were lucky to have fantastic weather with temperatures in the 50s and plenty of sunshine. There were also several kids running clubs supporting the event, each child was paired with a mentor who served as their “running buddy”.  What a great way to fight childhood obesity! Without a doubt the best part of the day was the many homeowners sitting on their porch or front lawn, cheering on the contestants. You can tell just how thankful these people are and how happy they are to own their own home. There is a definite sense of pride and community.

The neighborhood, just outside of downtown Winston Salem showcases everything that Habitat for Humanity stands for. These people, who have been given the chance to own their own home are now reinvesting in their community. Everyone is working towards a common goal and focusing on lifting one another up. When walking through this neighborhood, you can tell it is obviously one in transition, they are gaining momentum and need continued support from volunteers.

Growing up, I come from a very working class background. My father held many jobs from driving a semi, to building homes and other odd jobs. These could be sporadic at times and money could be hard to come by.  We may not have always had much but we always knew that we had a roof over our heads. My dad, being the handyman that he is always tried to get us involved in any work that we were doing around the house.  I can remember knocking down walls to change the layout in our home when I was only 3 or 4 years old. When you think back on your childhood, so many of your memories involve the home you grew up in. I remember the first time I broke my arm, jumping out of a tree in the back yard. I remember fishing with my brothers in the pond or playing baseball in the field.  Having friends over to camp out and cooking marshmallows over the camp fire.

Seeing all those families in that neighborhood made me think of my childhood. I sincerely hope that those kids get to have the same fond memories of their childhood home. That is what the American dream is all about!

The Hammerbird 5k a reminder of how fortunate I am.  I am lucky enough to have a house to call home.  As a father, I want to teach my son the importance of giving back and caring for others. What better way than to get involved with such a great organization? So what is the take home from this experience? Get involved in your community! It’s easy to come up with an excuse:

  • Not enough time 
  • Family obligations
  • You may feel that you have nothing special to offer, etc.

I promise you, you will absolutely take more from these experiences than you give. To see an actual impact on the people and area where you live is indescribable. To sign up to work with Habitat Forsyth, click the link here. If not Habitat, find something else that you are passionate about, there are so many great causes.




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