Service members in NY for Fleet Week volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Queens

JAMAICA, Queens — To many Fleet Week is about parties and celebrations, but not to dozens of men and women of the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard who are using the time to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

This is the seventh year that Habitat for Humanity New York City has partnered with members of the sea service to build affordable homes during Fleet Week.

“All service members want to show local New Yorkers what we do on a daily basis,” Lt. Liam Bacon, a US Coast Guard member, told PIX11 News.

A vacant and boarded up home used to stand on 132nd Street in Jamaica. It was an eyesore to neighbors.

“Lots of rats and things,” Dhanwatie Shivjattan, a neighbor, told PIX11 News. “I am happy there’s a new building."

They construct from the ground up, including building the initial framing and trussing. There’s lots of heavy lifting, power tools, measuring and cutting. Thework to build a home for a low-income family has particular meaning for US Coast Guard member Wendy Janson.

“It feels great, especially as a new mother,” Janson said. “It makes me feel like I am actually giving back and it’s something worthwhile."

And of course, Habitat NYC is always looking for a few more good men and women to volunteer.

“You do not have to be a skilled carpenter to build. We train you,” Matthew Dunbar, a spokesman  for HabitatNYC, told PIX11 News. “We always find opportunities for them to serve."

This house on 132nd St. is expected to be completed by the fall. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can check out their website at habitatnyc.org.

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