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40 in 40 Blog

Ink drawing of a house

In 2021, Pickens County Habitat for Humanity celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

The Tuesday/Thursday Crew

Tuesday/Thursday crew members pose together inside of a Habitat house under construction

There are more than 1,100 Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States, and thousands more international Habitat builds happening at any given time in 40 countries. Operations may vary from affiliate to affiliate, as well as the number of annual builds or house design. While every Habitat for Humanity affiliate operates independently, there is one common thread that weaves all Habitat organizations together: the volunteers. More specifically, the “regular” volunteers.

Habitat homes are built primarily with the use of volunteer labor. This assists in keeping the cost of a Habitat home affordable for low-moderate income individuals and families by replacing the expense of hiring professional labor with the work of community members.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity (PCHFH) has utilized the unique skills and dedication of regular, weekly volunteers since its early days of operation in 1981. At some point in PCHFH’s early days, regular volunteers began to prefer to work on Habitat sites on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week. This choice of scheduling earned the group the title of “Tuesday/Thursday crew”. Even as new members joined in and others retired, moved on, or passed away throughout the last 40 years, the Tuesday/Thursday crew has remained a staple in PCHFH’s functioning and the way homes are constructed for families in need.

While not much was documented about the first crew of construction volunteers, scrapbook images, old newsletter clippings, and a few of the remaining original volunteers tell a story of “salt of the earth” individuals coming together to lend a hand building homes for families in need. One of those original regular volunteers is Joe Dickerson of Clemson.

Joe Dickerson – former PCHFH board president and longtime volunteer – remembers Absalom “Ab” Snell as the founder of the Tuesday/Thursday crew. Ab was a Clemson University graduate and faculty of various departments at the school for many years. Ab, along with O.W. Barnett and Bill Epps, introduced Joe to volunteering with Pickens County Habitat.

On why he and Ab decided on the two-day volunteer week, Joe stated: “Working on Tuesdays and Thursdays left the weekend free and gave us some organization. We’d correct the Saturday people’s mistakes, and the Saturday people corrected ours.”

Pickens County Habitat would not hire its first paid construction coordinator until 1998, more than 15 years after its founding. Until then, all construction sites were completely volunteer led. As he began regularly volunteering in 1982, Joe realized the importance of knowing the International Building Codes to build safe and structurally-sound Habitat homes. He decided to take a course at Tri County Technical College to improve his abilities on site and lead other volunteers since there was no hired professional available. Later, Tri County Technical College would host a construction course on a PCHFH build site where students could actively build a home as part of their curriculum.

Remembering his time on Habitat builds, Joe said, “I wore a book out looking up how to do things, how not to do things…I think we contributed a great deal.”

Along with actually constructing homes and learning building codes, Joe assisted with more than 50 closings and the purchase of many lots, served on the board of directors, and improved advocacy efforts during his volunteer time. In 2020, Joe was awarded the Have a Heart for Habitat volunteer award for his excellent commitment to Pickens County Habitat. The philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy for Habitat that he exhibited over his twenty-year span with PCHFH were matched by many other Tuesday/Thursday crew members who dedicated countless hours to building affordable housing – a dedication that continues to this day.

Preston Weeks is a current Tuesday/Thursday crew member with PCHFH, even though he sometimes volunteers on Wednesdays. He drives from Seneca to Pickens County at least twice per week to put in nearly 10 hours of construction work on Habitat homes.

“For those 2-3 days a week, those efforts come together for a chance to make things better than they were before. There’s something there today that wasn’t there before. That’s one reason I like construction because you are building something that wasn’t there before. You’re doing something to make things better.”

Volunteering with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity was a “natural extension” for Preston who worked in the construction management industry for 45 years. A Clemson University graduate himself, Preston was able to experience the Homecoming Build on Bowman Field during his son’s time at the university. Years later he would move from the Gulf Coast to Seneca and begin searching for ways to get involved in his local community.

He found that community service with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity in 2018 when he quickly became a regular Tuesday/Thursday crew member alongside a group of other retired folks under the leadership of construction coordinator Chris Mastandrea. Preston was attracted to the mission of Habitat for Humanity because he believes working toward owning a home for the first time is a “major impetus” for families in need.

Preston has been integral to the construction of at least six Pickens County Habitat homes. Much like Joe Dickerson and other regular volunteers before him, Preston is assisting the affiliate with needs outside of physical construction. He serves on the Construction Committee and is actively involved in improving Pickens County Habitat’s construction manual and building standards.

For Preston, the friendships formed on site while volunteering together is one of the most important rewards. He finds that he and his fellow regular volunteers have a lot in common and bond over their shared passion for giving back. He feels that the Tuesday/Thursday crew stay motivated by focusing on the community impact of their work. He also shares that laughing and having fun while volunteering is the key to achieving milestones together.

“They’re a whole bunch of folks who have a lot of talent who help people they have never met, and out of the goodness of their heart they’re just helping out, chipping in, doing a top-notch job just because they want to. It’s good people helping good people.”

Along with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, Preston spends some of his free time volunteering with the Golden Corner Food Pantry in Seneca and has assisted with tornado-relief efforts in Seneca following the tornado of 2020.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity estimates that the Tuesday/Thursday volunteers alone have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours since the organization began 40 years ago. The hands of folks like Joe Dickerson, Preston Weeks and every regular volunteer in between have literally molded opportunities for families in need and the future of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity itself. A group unique to Habitat for Humanity, the Tuesday/Thursday crew is a true testament to the ministry of the organization – building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

There are more than 1,100 Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States, and thousands more international Habitat builds happening at any given time in 40 countries. Operations may vary from affiliate to affiliate, as well as the number of annual builds or house design. While every Habitat for Humanity affiliate operates independently, there is one common thread that weaves all Habitat organizations together: the volunteers. More specifically, the “regular” volunteers.

Habitat homes are built primarily with the use of volunteer labor. This assists in keeping the cost of a Habitat home affordable for low-moderate income individuals and families by replacing the expense of hiring professional labor with the work of community members.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity (PCHFH) has utilized the unique skills and dedication of regular, weekly volunteers since its early days of operation in 1981. At some point in PCHFH’s early days, regular volunteers began to prefer to work on Habitat sites on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week. This choice of scheduling earned the group the title of “Tuesday/Thursday crew”. Even as new members joined in and others retired, moved on, or passed away throughout the last 40 years, the Tuesday/Thursday crew has remained a staple in PCHFH’s functioning and the way homes are constructed for families in need.

While not much was documented about the first crew of construction volunteers, scrapbook images, old newsletter clippings, and a few of the remaining original volunteers tell a story of “salt of the earth” individuals coming together to lend a hand building homes for families in need. One of those original regular volunteers is Joe Dickerson of Clemson.

Joe Dickerson – former PCHFH board president and longtime volunteer – remembers Absalom “Ab” Snell as the founder of the Tuesday/Thursday crew. Ab was a Clemson University graduate and faculty of various departments at the school for many years. Ab, along with O.W. Barnett and Bill Epps, introduced Joe to volunteering with Pickens County Habitat.

On why he and Ab decided on the two-day volunteer week, Joe stated: “Working on Tuesdays and Thursdays left the weekend free and gave us some organization. We’d correct the Saturday people’s mistakes, and the Saturday people corrected ours.”

Pickens County Habitat would not hire its first paid construction coordinator until 1998, more than 15 years after its founding. Until then, all construction sites were completely volunteer led. As he began regularly volunteering in 1982, Joe realized the importance of knowing the International Building Codes to build safe and structurally-sound Habitat homes. He decided to take a course at Tri County Technical College to improve his abilities on site and lead other volunteers since there was no hired professional available. Later, Tri County Technical College would host a construction course on a PCHFH build site where students could actively build a home as part of their curriculum.

Remembering his time on Habitat builds, Joe said, “I wore a book out looking up how to do things, how not to do things…I think we contributed a great deal.”

Along with actually constructing homes and learning building codes, Joe assisted with more than 50 closings and the purchase of many lots, served on the board of directors, and improved advocacy efforts during his volunteer time. In 2020, Joe was awarded the Have a Heart for Habitat volunteer award for his excellent commitment to Pickens County Habitat. The philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy for Habitat that he exhibited over his twenty-year span with PCHFH were matched by many other Tuesday/Thursday crew members who dedicated countless hours to building affordable housing – a dedication that continues to this day.

Preston Weeks is a current Tuesday/Thursday crew member with PCHFH, even though he sometimes volunteers on Wednesdays. He drives from Seneca to Pickens County at least twice per week to put in nearly 10 hours of construction work on Habitat homes.

“For those 2-3 days a week, those efforts come together for a chance to make things better than they were before. There’s something there today that wasn’t there before. That’s one reason I like construction because you are building something that wasn’t there before. You’re doing something to make things better.”

Volunteering with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity was a “natural extension” for Preston who worked in the construction management industry for 45 years. A Clemson University graduate himself, Preston was able to experience the Homecoming Build on Bowman Field during his son’s time at the university. Years later he would move from the Gulf Coast to Seneca and begin searching for ways to get involved in his local community.

He found that community service with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity in 2018 when he quickly became a regular Tuesday/Thursday crew member alongside a group of other retired folks under the leadership of construction coordinator Chris Mastandrea. Preston was attracted to the mission of Habitat for Humanity because he believes working toward owning a home for the first time is a “major impetus” for families in need.

Preston has been integral to the construction of at least six Pickens County Habitat homes. Much like Joe Dickerson and other regular volunteers before him, Preston is assisting the affiliate with needs outside of physical construction. He serves on the Construction Committee and is actively involved in improving Pickens County Habitat’s construction manual and building standards.

For Preston, the friendships formed on site while volunteering together is one of the most important rewards. He finds that he and his fellow regular volunteers have a lot in common and bond over their shared passion for giving back. He feels that the Tuesday/Thursday crew stay motivated by focusing on the community impact of their work. He also shares that laughing and having fun while volunteering is the key to achieving milestones together.

“They’re a whole bunch of folks who have a lot of talent who help people they have never met, and out of the goodness of their heart they’re just helping out, chipping in, doing a top-notch job just because they want to. It’s good people helping good people.”

Along with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, Preston spends some of his free time volunteering with the Golden Corner Food Pantry in Seneca and has assisted with tornado-relief efforts in Seneca following the tornado of 2020.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity estimates that the Tuesday/Thursday volunteers alone have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours since the organization began 40 years ago. The hands of folks like Joe Dickerson, Preston Weeks and every regular volunteer in between have literally molded opportunities for families in need and the future of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity itself. A group unique to Habitat for Humanity, the Tuesday/Thursday crew is a true testament to the ministry of the organization – building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

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