Building a community

17th Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Sgt. Memory Payne

Date: 08.08.2013
Posted: 08.08.2013 14:35
News ID: 111589
Building a community

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The U.S. military is an all-volunteer force - serving comes natural to soldiers. So when an opportunity presents itself, they take it.

Soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion at JBLM volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help with an ongoing project to build five houses, six townhouses and one duplex in nearby Tillicum Aug. 6-8.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.

Recipients build their houses through “sweat equity,” meaning they must volunteer 500 hours helping construct homes in the community, said Sue Potter, director of development and communications at Habitat for Humanity Tacoma/Pierce County.

Potter also encouraged veterans to apply for a home through the organization and that Habitat for Humanity sets aside “a few homes in every community” for veterans.

The WTB provides soldiers going through a medical evaluation board a place to receive the medical care they need while preparing to transition into the civilian workforce. Coping with injuries and illnesses can be stressful for them.

“This is like their therapy, you see them stress free and using teamwork,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Mina, a squad leader with A Company, Warrior Transition Battalion, and Lacey, Wash., native.

Mina and fellow cadre members from the WTB came out to support their soldiers and give back to the people that support Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This is Mina’s second year volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Last time he learned to roof.

“This year I’m learning how to paint a house,” he said.

Mina is not the only volunteer learning valuable skills while giving back.

“As a homeowner, it’s nice to get the education and knowledge to help myself,” said Spc. Jubar McDaniel, a New York native and mail clerk with WTB.

Mina said soldiers in transition benefit from being able to help the civilian community. This is especially the case when soldiers can assist in the specific area where they plan to live after their service.