Georgia Builder Earns Top Honor for Community Service
Isaac Heimbinder, chairman of Buildtopia (left); Tiffany Hudson, vice president and superintendent of Star Home Builders, Inc.; and Gary Garczynski, chairman of the National Housing Endowment, at the builder achievement awards ceremony at the builders' show.
Star Home Builders of Winder, Ga. was awarded the 2006 Gold National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Service during the recent International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
Thomas Gipson Homes, Inc. of Raleigh, N.C. was awarded the silver award, Veridian Homes of Madison, Wis. was awarded the bronze award, and nine other builders received honorable mentions for their community service.
Builders Build Homeless Shelter in Georgia
When the death of a local homeless man exposed to the elements in Winder, Ga. showed that the town’s current homeless facilities were inadequate, Winder’s mayor made a personal appeal to the local HBA, the Barrow County Builders Association, for help. He asked the association to build a new homeless shelter.
Star Home Builders took the lead on the project, turning the shelter’s construction into a personal mission for the company. After more than a year-and-a-half of overcoming numerous obstacles, 12-hour work days with no weekend or holiday breaks, and the commitment of the entire HBA, Star Home Builders and the Barrow County Builders Association finished the $300,000, 40-bed, 5,000-square-foot Lighthouse Homeless Shelter.
For its philanthropic endeavor, a $10,000 donation will be directed to Star Home Builders’ charity of choice.
Giving the Blitz a Helping Hand
Thomas Gipson Homes received the silver award, along with a $5,000 donation to the charity of its choice, for its efforts to expand the building industry’s relationship with Habitat for Humanity and to increase Habitat’s building capacity.
Tom Gipson first began working closely with Habitat in 2002. His efforts, which included traveling to more than 40 cities, led to the 2006 Habitat Home Builders Blitz — the largest one-week blitz build in the 30-year history of Habitat, with 459 homes constructed.
The blitz was completed entirely by home builders and accounted for 8% of all Habitat homes built last year. The value of these homes, in essence a gift from the home builders to their communities, is in excess of $25 million.
A Foundation of Community Support
Veridian Homes received $2,500 for the charity of its choice for winning the bronze award. In 2006, Veridian’s charitable arm, the Veridian Foundation, donated more than $250,000 to 59 philanthropic organizations, including the Ellen & Peter Johnson Hospice Care Residence, where a special grieving room was built, and the Gathering Waters Conservancy. Veridian partnered with the conservancy to protect Wisconsin’s land trusts.
Honorable Mention Award Winners
In addition to the top three winners, NAHB honored nine builders with honorable mention awards. Two additional categories of honorable mention awards were added this year to reflect the huge amount of work done in the areas of Iraq Veterans and Hurricane Katrina Relief.
Each of these winners will receive $1,000 directed to the charity of their choice.
- Mercedes Homes
Jacksonville and Ft. Myers, Fla. divisions
- Pardee Homes
- Arbor South Architecture/Construction
- Operation Forever Free — Iraq Veterans
- Butler Brothers Inc. — Iraq Veterans
- Echo Valley, Inc. — Hurricane Katrina Relief
- SARES-REGIS Group. — Hurricane Katrina Relief
- Presidio Homes — Hurricane Katrina Relief
- John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. — Hurricane Katrina Relief
“Every year, in towns and cities both large and small, housing professionals are doing what they do best — building,” said Gary Garczynski, chairman of the National Housing Endowment, NAHB’s philanthropic arm. “But it’s not just houses and neighborhood developments that these professionals are constructing. They’re building communities, and these awards allow us to recognize the great contributions our members are making every day in their neighborhoods in which they live and work.”