DETROIT (WXYZ) - It's was a beautiful day to build a house ... or three.
Crews of volunteers, including members of the WXYZ-TV staff, participated in the third annual Detroit 2020/Habitat for Humanity BuildUp.
We swung a lot of hammers and worked hard for a good cause.
Led by 7 Action News morning anchor Alicia Smith, volunteers from all over metro Detroit teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in the Morningside Commons neighborhood on Detroit's East side.
"We're really excited about all the new folks that come on out," said Vincent Tilford, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit. "They then work with us, they spread the word, and that's how we're able to keep things going."
The Detroit 2020 initiative is part of WXYZ's goal of helping make Detroit a better place to live, work and raise families.
"Detroit 2020 is about unifying a community and inspiring them, but then at the end of it, getting them to act. This is acting, making a difference that's tangible, and it just feels great," said WXYZ-TV Station Manager Mike Murri.
Volunteers came from all over metro Detroit and from as far away as Florida and California.
"I wanted to make a difference. I don't have a lot of money to give or a lot of other things. What I can do is I can pound a nail and build a wall," said first-time Build Up volunteer Walt Szymborski of Wyandotte.
Ora Holston of Detroit had never worked on a Habitat construction project before either. She decided to recruit her daughter and granddaughter to join her at the Build Up.
"You have to give back sometimes. So, that's what we're trying to do," explained Holston.
The Build Up also drew Farah Joyner of Boston– an architecture graduate student at the University of Michigan.
"Here's a chance to roll up my sleeves and again get in the community and put up a house," said Joyner.
The volunteer who traveled the farthest was Al Harano from San Francisco. He's been volunteering for Habitat for Humanity for nine years.
"I love the people of Detroit," said Al with a smile.
He is one of the talented crew leaders who teaches volunteers what to do if they've never worked on a construction site before.
The Build Up would not have been possible without the work of countless Habitat for Humanity volunteers who organized the build including Construction Director Dan Garan and Director of Development of Tara Franey.
We also want to thank the sponsors who went the extra mile for our day-long build.
Mans Lumber and Millwork of Canton donated enough lumber to build walls for one house. This was the third year in a row owner Doug Mans agreed to this generous contribution.
Get In Gear Promotions donated the T-shirts for the third year in a row as well.
Kroger donated bottled water to keep all of our volunteers hydrated.
WXYZ 7 Action News Morning Anchor Alicia Smith came up with the idea for the BuildUp three years ago.
"It's really humbling to see people from all over metro Detroit and beyond come together to build walls for a home that will someday house a deserving family in Detroit," said Smith.
Smith hammered alongside other Channel 7 family members like Main Anchor Stephen Clark, Meteorologist Chris Edwards, Editorial Director Chuck Stokes, Sports Reporter Brad Galli, Reporter Ronnie Dahl, Station Manager Mike Murri and many other Detroit 2020 team members.
If you would like to volunteer to work on a Habitat for Humanity project, click here.
Habitat for Humanity Detroit's annual Blitz Build is August 17 – 24. Habitat will build seven homes in seven days. When the volunteers are finished, they will have built the 100 th home in the Morningside Commons neighborhood.
"We still need volunteers especially on Wednesday the 21 st and on both Saturdays," explained Tilford.
Thanks again to all of the volunteers who took part in this year's Build Up! Your enthusiasm and hard work are greatly appreciated.