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Volunteering builds more than homes, it builds relationships too

“Hey Ms. Pat!,” yelled a young woman across the construction site. Pat Funk turned her head and looked up. There stood a girl she initially didn’t recognize, but who clearly knew who she was. “You’re Avalon’s mom! You used to come to Girl Scouts!,” continued the woman.

As Pat reminisced about this woman, who grew up with her daughter, she stated how wonderful it was to be recognized and how thankful she is for the relationships she’s been able to make through volunteering with Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity.

For the past year and a half, Pat has been a member of Thursday Crew. Last year, she added Crew Leader to her resume. In that transition, Pat realized how many more relationships she was able to build by being on-site on a Saturday.

Pat got involved because of her father, who taught her about relationships and construction. He is no longer with us, but she is surrounded by dear friends through these volunteer groups within Gwinnett Habitat. On a given workday, you will often find her in the trailer keeping it organized. She can also be found walking around, taking time to get to know each of the homeowners, volunteers, and staff alike.

“I’ve met a wide variety of people and I’ve made a lot of friends. I haven’t met anybody that I wouldn’t stand and talk to for an hour,” Pat said. “You don’t realize it, but you’re touching everyone’s lives on that day. I’ve run into volunteers while out running errands too. The relationships you’ve built, you find you miss them when the season is over. I’m excited to be back out building homes.”

As for being a woman on a construction site, she says, “Just try it. Because half the time, it’s fun! It’s fun to take a hammer and beat a nail with it. It’s fun to take a chop saw and cut the wood.”