Seeing where the charity money we helped raise, goes..!
My bike ride across America has been the start of a growing love for the work being done by the Fuller Center for Housing, a christian housing charity, based in America but doing work all over the globe to help address poverty housing. Millard Fuller, and his wife Linda, are the founders of both Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing and the work of these two organisations has transformed the lives of many thousands of people.
In October 2019, I flew back to America to participate in the Millard Fuller Legacy Build to help rebuild a community devastated by a massive tornado on 3rd March 2019. In just a few minutes 23 people were killed as a tornado ripped through Beauregard in Lee County, Alabama. People lost their homes, all their belongings, their vehicles but also family members and friends.
Together with over 200 other volunteers, we aimed in just 5 days to build 11 new homes to replace those lost to the tornado and I was joined by a number of friends from the Bike Adventure Team. In total, the Fuller Center for Housing took responsibility for building 18 new homes in the area
One of the phrases used during this week was that we were not just building homes but building 'hope' back into a rather shattered community. This was especially brought into focus when we turned up on our construction site for the one home we were to work on for the week as we saw two crosses erected. These represented the parents of the homeowner who were both killed in the tornado.
All the required building materials on site but only a timber frame had been erected on a new concrete slab/ raft foundation. Over the next 5 days we would help create a new home for the home-owner, Tiffany, and provide a basis for her move on from the devastation of the tornado.
With my experience of Construction Health and Safety, I patrolled the site to seek to ensure everyone was able to work in a safe environment as well as participating in the construction process. Along with other cyclists, there were other volunteers, including some from the Wells Fargo Bank, and a number of experienced builders. Together, through hard work, often well into the evenings, we would construct, clad, insulate and create a new home. This was all carried out in sweltering heat where everyone needed to take on fluids to stay hydrated. It was tough but incredibly satisfying.
This whole experience was so rewarding and showed me the value of teamwork and was fueled by a passion to help those who, by no fault of their own, have experienced loss and devastation. There were radio and television crews there to capture all this industry which was primarily driven by love. Love for God and love for fellow mankind. It was a heady and fabulous atmosphere!
On the Friday afternoon, we held a dedication event where the keys to the new home were handed over to each respective home-owner, in our case Tiffany, and we all headed home with big smiles on our faces.
On the Saturday morning, we said our farewells to one another and went off in our various directions, with me flying back to England, determined that this event would be the start of yet more adventures, rather than the end of something.
Bring it on!!!