O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon ‘volunteer hero’ helps build houses for families in need

Habitat Hero shares why he puts in his all for others

Jim Campbell of the Lewis and Clark Habitat For Humanity O’Fallon chapter, was recently honored with the Habitat For Humanity Volunteer Hero Award during the Annual Southern Illinois Habitat For Humanity conference in Champaign.
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Jim Campbell of the Lewis and Clark Habitat For Humanity O’Fallon chapter, was recently honored with the Habitat For Humanity Volunteer Hero Award during the Annual Southern Illinois Habitat For Humanity conference in Champaign.

He wasn’t expecting it, nor does he like the attention, but Jim Campbell said he welcomes the Lewis and Clark Habitat For Humanity O’Fallon Chapter being recognized for the “good it does.”

“This is a great honor and certainly one that we’ll appreciate — and one that bodes well, I think, for the future of Habitat here in O’Fallon,” he said.

Campbell was recently honored as a Habitat Volunteer Hero, an award he said he accepted with surprise during the annual Southern Illinois Habitat For Humanity Conference at the Hawthorne Convention Center in Champaign.

“I think they all colluded to get me there so I could accept it. I had no idea, even after they called my name, I sat there wondering what is going on,” Campbell said with a laugh.

The O’Fallon Habitat board nominated Campbell for the award.

“It’s nice they did this, but it’s not about me. It’s about this team and Habitat in O’Fallon that really matters at the end of the day,” Campbell said. “Being part of Habitat has been a huge honor and a source of joy for me. As most of us who are growing older have learned, the meaning of life is in service to others and the joy in life comes from giving.”

Ken Beeman, president of the O’Fallon chapter, said Campbell is “so very talented and has good ideas.”

Campbell has been a volunteer for nearly three years, and “can always be counted on,” Beeman said.

According to Beeman, Campbell goes beyond volunteering with building the houses, he helps with club meetings, fundraisers, events and “even keeps a rapport growing with the homeowners and their kids, too.”

“He helps everybody. If you need something done, he gets it done — doesn’t ask any questions,” Beeman said.

Since last spring, Campbell said has spent about 30 hours a week working on the O’Fallon chapter’s latest home, located at 202 Carson Drive, which will be the new home of Tomira Laws and her 9-year-old twin boys, Garron and Gervon.

Meaning of Habitat

The home on Carson Drive is the third home the chapter has built for working mothers from O’Fallon who have partnered with the organization. A house blessing will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, with Pastor Bob Downs officiating.

In order to be considered for a Habitat home, perspective owners must meet certain qualifications and must qualify for assistance with financing, provide 200 “sweat equity hours” during the build, and take classes on homeownership and home repair at Southern Illinois Community College.

“It’s not a giveaway, but is rather giving a new Habitat homeowner a hand up in life, and that’s the meaning of Habitat,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the group has a goal to build a house every year, and hopes to increase that number in time.

“One of the limiting factors is the need for more volunteers,” he said.

He said the community has provided “tremendous help” over the years and continues to do so.

“The generosity of our community businesses and the people who live here has been absolutely amazing,” Campbell said.

Donations to the chapter for the Habitat homes have included: roofs, siding, counter tops, cabinets, flooring, appliances, foundations, block work, and “nearly every part of the house,” Campbell said.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch

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