Hammers in hand, TEP employees David Wagner and Leonard Nehrmeyer helped frame a house in Tucson’s Copper Vista neighborhood as part of Habitat for Humanity Tucson’s Building Freedom Day.
The annual Sept. 11 event commemorates the 2001 tragedy by raising the walls of multiple homes for qualifying local families. Jessica Cordero in Transmission & Distribution coordinated the event for TEP.
“Everyone needs a home,” said Wagner, T&D Superintendent, who along with Nehrmeyer has volunteered multiple times at the event. “It’s a good opportunity to help in the community. It provides affordable housing for those in need and allows them to work on their own home throughout the building process. I like contributing to that.”
Tucson Electric Power is a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Each year, employees volunteer 150-200 hours of their personal time on local Habitat projects, and TEP donates as much as $10,000 (or more) of shareholder money to the charity.
TEP has partnered with Habitat for Humanity since 1998. Over the years, TEP employees have helped build and fund a dozen homes. Habitat was TEP’s first partner on energy-efficient homes for low-income homeowners and set the model for the use of solar hot water to keep home energy affordable.
TEP has donated vehicles to the charity and helped set up Habitat’s HabiStore, a resale shop for home improvement products, furniture and appliances. A TEP substation next to the new Habitat for Humanity program center on Mountain Avenue will feature a mural that Habitat, the neighborhood and area youth groups are designing and painting.
This year, TEP is sponsoring Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Partnership Program, “A Brush With Kindness,” in Tucson’s South Park neighborhood, bringing volunteers and neighbors together to repair home exteriors, clean up litter and remove graffiti. The repairs will enable residents, especially the elderly and disabled, to improve the safety and appearance of their neighborhoods.
“We started the program last year because as we built in neighborhoods, there was such interest and energy from the neighbors to have pride in their communities,” Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Michael McDonald said.
The Oct. 26 event in South Park is part of National Make a Difference Day and the United Way Days of Caring. More than 300 TEP volunteers will help renovate Tucson Urban League’s public space including bathrooms and making the entrance ADA compliant. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, TEP volunteers will hand out safety kits with CFL light bulbs to nearby residents.
“Habitat for Humanity is a lead organization in developing housing and safety-net services for our low-income and at-risk customers,” said Sharon Foltz, Manager, Community Relations. “They are a longtime valued partner of TEP’s and give us great volunteer opportunities to provide added value to our community.”