All eyes are fixed on the completed house. The siding is immaculate, not yet stained by time and use. The windows, freshly installed, nearly sparkle between shudders that still smell faintly of paint. The roof, sloping straight and strong, is truly a beauty to behold. The volunteers who worked and sweat for this house feel like Michelangelo at the unveiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Except for one. Jerry Perrin has his eye not on the masterpiece he helped to build but on the family who will now call it home. "The most rewarding part of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is seeing the expression on the homeowner's faces," Perrin said. "I love to see their awe when they realize, 'Oh wow. This is mine.'"
When Jerry volunteered for the first time in February of 2006 it was solely on his wife's prompting. He claims that his reasons for agreeing to her idea were selfish. "I like to build and I like to the see the finished product," he said. "Now I know it's not just about me; it's about the people I'm helping." Half a year and many Habitat homes later, Jerry enjoys building more than ever. "In every job there's something someone doesn't like. But right now I really can't think of anything in the construction process that turns me off."
Jerry believes a good volunteer should be both willing to take instructions and willing to give instructions. Another quality he notes as being important is being open minded, which is an area that he has matured in as a result of volunteering. "I learned a lot about people who don't have what I've grown up with all my life," Jerry shared. "My mind and my heart are open more because I've worked with Habitat." This kind of response is more valuable than anything constructed out of metal and wood.