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Friday, November 18, 2011
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PGA Plants Hope With Habitat For Humanity
By Brent Roske
Golf. Sailing. Hauling dirt. What do these 3 things have in common? I’m glad you asked!
5am on Saturday came too quick. I had to get to the Starbucks in Long Beach by 7 to make it to the build site by 745 - the first 20 miles of driving was mentally pretty foggy. 2 boxes of coffee, a bunch of muffins and bagels and I was off to the build site.
I didn’t know much about Habitat for Humanity before then. Here’s what they do and why they do it: Habitat builds houses for qualifying families, which is one that needs some housing help and can make the mortgage payments on the house once it’s finished. Habitat calls it ‘a hand up and not a hand out’ which sounds good to me. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man how to drive a nail through a fish with a high-powered nail gun and you’ll get a good photo. Every family that is accepted into the program has to work 500 hours at a Habitat property - often at the home they’ll be living in - building ‘sweat equity’. A normal workweek here in the States is 40 hours (not for us hard working producers but we’re special) so over the year it takes to build a Habitat house the owners are certainly putting in their time.
We got hats. Brand new PGA Green Committee baseball hats and a cup of coffee and we were split up into teams. I was put on landscape because I guess they didn’t want me inside the house. Our team’s job was to level the front yard so we could put some plants in. It had been over 12 years since I last touched a wheelbarrow for either business or pleasure (don’t ask). Everybody grabbed a shovel and started filling them up so R.J. Hume and I became ‘Dirt Removal Team Alpha’ (our own name). The first half of our day: Fill the wheelbarrow, wheel it to the dump, lift it with R.J., dump the dirt, repeat.
At the start of the workday we had a group prayer. Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based organization and all faiths are welcome. I had a moment of surprise when I realized that during the prayer all 24 PGA producers weren’t talking! I’m sure that’s some sort of record.
That day we painted, cut tile, sawed wood, dug, planted, hauled stuff, and used muscles that at least for me had been dormant and un-flexed for too long. And the best part? We were there not because we had to be, or because we were getting paid for it, or because we expected anything from it. We were there because a family of 5, who had been living in a one bedroom apartment for years (mom, dad and 3 sons in 700 square feet), now would get to live in a house that they applied for, worked hard to help build and will be responsible for the upkeep and payment for once they move in. With all the partisan politics, economic troubles and other daily struggles we all face, simple acts like helping someone build their house is about as gratifying as you can get. As producers, most of our careers are spent talking – talking about projects, creating excitement, generating funding, casting – you get it. I don’t think I’ve talked less in a day than on the build with Habitat, and there is a good feeling that comes with the tactile experience of creating a home that kids will laugh in.
So, to answer the question at the top of this article: what does golf, sailing and hauling dirt have in common? Find out for yourself by volunteering for a day with Habitiat for Humanity. (and then go golfing and sailing).
If you would like to see more pictures from the PGA Habitat for Humanity, go to our Facebook Page. Thank you to our Sponsor Safecig for making this year’s build possible. For more information about Safecig, go to www.thesafecig.com. For more information about PGA Green, go to: www.pgagreen.org or join our Facebook page. For more information about volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, go to: www.habitatla.org
Brent Roske is a member of the PGA Green Committee and his short film ‘African Chelsea’ is now qualified for Oscar consideration.