The job is never complete for these retired men

By Emily Griffith | Living 50 Plus

Habitat for Humanity volunteer Sam Beadle grew up in a low-income family, so he understands the importance of a home. As the ninth out of 10 kids in a three-room home, he knows what families in the Habitat program are going through.

That makes his efforts with the program even more meaningful.

“I enjoy giving back to these people who need a place to stay for their family,” Beadle said.

Beadle and Bill Crouch are two retirees among the 10 core skilled workers that consistently work at the Habitat build sites and provide their expertise to less-experienced volunteer groups helping out. Eight of those 10 workers are over the age of 60.

Habitat for Humanity accepts volunteers to build houses for families trying to create a better lifestyle. From the foundation to the landscaping, volunteers do it all.

“They are the backbone of our construction, we couldn’t build without them,” said Landis Griffin, executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County.

Beadle, a 68-year-old retired salesperson, began working with Habitat even before his retirement.

He was introduced to Habitat through First Bible Church in 2016 and has been involved ever since. He enjoys the work, but most importantly, he enjoys giving back to his community.

“I think the biggest thing about Habitat is that we’re giving back something to families who have a need,” he said.

The income limits for families that are eligible for the Habitat homes are based on family size. For a one-person home, the maximum income is $2,210 a month. Prospective homeowners have to learn about homeownership and budgeting, put in volunteer hours with the program and agree to a 30-year, no-interest mortgage.

Owning a home is a landmark event for many people, Beadle said. He loves helping people reach this “pinnacle” of their lives.

His love for children stems from his abundance of siblings. His favorite part of the build is watching the children run through their future home claiming bedrooms and exclaiming their excitement.

Beadle’s grandfather was a carpenter and taught his son, who then passed on the skills to Beadle when he was young. He has put his carpentry knowledge to use throughout his life, even remodeling his own home in Ohio.

Staying active

Not only is the work with Habitat emotionally rewarding, but physically as well. Beadle said the work keeps him active during a time when many of his friends sit on the couch watching TV.

He encourages his friends and family to get involved for their own well-being and that of others.

“I think anyone who is healthy enough should give it a try,” Beadle said.

Crouch, 64, has been “giving it a try” since the 1990s, serving on the weekends when he wasn’t working as an engineer for Tennessee Valley Authority.

Crouch, who retired in 2015, estimates he has helped build more than 25 homes for those in need.

“Living in a house myself, I understand the importance of having something that you can call your own home,” Crouch said.

His father taught him basic building skills when he was a young boy, and he has been putting those skills to the test with Habitat for Humanity. He said his mother showed him how to look out for your neighbors and serve your community, and he has followed her lead his entire life.

“It was obvious to me that there was a need there, and I had the skills for doing it, and I wanted to help people,” Crouch said.

By volunteering his skills to Habitat for Humanity, Crouch feels that he is helping the world by being productive.

Three mornings a week, Beedle and Crouch venture out into the community — raking, hammering, and sawing for a cause.

The activity aspect of Habitat is important to Crouch as well. He read about the importance of resistance exercise for retired individuals and appreciates the abundance of it on the build sites.

According to Medical News Today, studies show that resistance exercise can prevent age-related processes such as muscle weakness, mobility loss, and even premature mortality.

“It’s a great place to keep yourself active,” Crouch said. “It’s very important for retired people to have activity.”

The core volunteers forge a bond through serving the community, working, sweating and laughing together.

Crouch said he loves walking into a store and recognizing people that he works with. He loves the camaraderie he feels throughout the community, from the build site to the grocery store.

The work is not all physically demanding, however. Beadle said that anyone can help. Whether it’s passing nails or just encouraging the workers, the Habitat program can use anyone and everyone on the sites.

Those interested in getting involved can contact Griffin at (256) 340-9609.