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June 01, 2014 10:10 PM

Building A Foundation Of Faith And Friendship

Sioux Falls, SD

The mission behind Habitat for Humanity is to provide affordable homes to families who are in need. The organization has built or rehabilitated 115 homes since 1989.

But in order to keep up with the demand, the organization relies on many volunteers.

Every morning. Twice a week.

"We always have a morning coffee break," Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Roger Leistra said.

Roger Leistra and company follow a certain routine.

"And the workmanship was just superb," Leistra said.

It's a habit they formed while working for Habitat for Humanity.

"We are going to stack it over here?" Leistra said.

The group started out as strangers.

"Most of us didn't know each other before we joined," Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, John Homstad said.

It's now grown into lasting relationships.

"Once I started and got acquainted with the guys it has turned into a situation where I am working with my friends," Leistra said.

"He's buying a boat. Maybe he doesn't know it yet or acknowledge it but…" Leistra said.

"We really do get along with each other and we enjoy each other's company," Leistra said.

They also enjoy, giving back.

"We are not all that great when it comes to actually building a house but we get the job done and we have a lot of fun doing it," Leistra said.

"We are assembling those window frames that will go in the foundation," John Homstad said.

A foundation built on faith and friendship for this group of men who want to do something for the greater good.

"I was retired and I wanted something to do to occupy my time. I also wanted to do something that was worthwhile," Leistra said.

Their hard work is getting noticed by those in charge.

"I call them our elves, which they would object to if they heard that, but we wouldn't get done what we get done if it weren't for a dedicated group like that," Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Sioux Fall, Sue Olsen said.

These guys call themselves: "Masters Builders."

"God is the Master and we are building for him and that's really what it's all about," Leistra said.

It's a faith-focused volunteer effort. Leistra says he's simply returning the blessings he's been given.

"I've been blessed with a really good life and would like to be able to share that with others who are less fortunate," Leistra said.

"The Masters Builders work twice a week and volunteer 10-12 hours of their time," Brittany Larson said.

"Let's call it a great exercise program. It's work and you'll sweat a little bit and get tired at the end of the day," Homstad said.

"The masters are a dedicated group that we can count on, plus they have skills," Olsen said.

However, Homstad admits you don't have to be a skilled craftsman in order to volunteer.

"Most the work we do, 10 minutes of instruction and 10 or 15 minutes of experience in a particular activity and you are just as expert as anyone here," Homstad said.

The Masters keep returning here not only to give something to those in need, but also to receive much more.

"It's therapeutic to spend the day like that and it's not work there's no big pressure involved and it's a group of people accomplishing a task and they get some satisfaction out of it at the end of the day, Homstad said.

As retirees, getting a paycheck just doesn't mean what it once did.

"On a day they will tease me that they are going to increase their wage and that means I have to bring donuts for coffee break." Olsen said.

So while it's donuts instead of dollars, Olsen admits these guys are the wheels that turn Habitat.

"The passion and the desire that comes in within and causes them to get up each day and go do something to help someone else in our community is truly a gift from God and the magic of this ministry," Olsen said.

"It's the work that we do that enables people to move into a good house and that's the number one thing that I enjoy," Leistra said.

Habitat for Humanity is always accepting volunteers who would like to help out.

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