The following is a blog excerpt I wrote in 2014 after my hands-on experience at Habitat for Humanity:

Today, I wore my very first hard hat (not including the toy one I shared with my brother Zack – 13 years ago).

This morning, at 5am, my entire family woke up to get ready for the kickoff of the 2014 Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity Builder’s Blitz in Lawrence, MA. (My uncle – Carl Tearno of CST Carpentry in Meredith, NH – met us there shortly after, as well). I can’t even put into words how awesome it feels to be involved with this project and organization. The families that will be moving into these houses at the end of the week got to the site at 630am like the rest of us and have been keeping an eye and lending a hand the entire day. You can see their grateful hearts through their eyes, for everything being done to help them and their families. It always feels great to give back to the community and it’s an added bonus that I get to do it alongside my family and our Cote & Foster family.

It’s incredible what can be accomplished when communities come together. Cote & Foster has been on site for weeks preparing the pre-build and attending progress meetings with the Habitat team. Months of planning are put into these projects and the outcome is outstanding. The roof, floors, and frame were built off site, brought in this morning, and put together on site quickly and efficiently. Barely 10 minutes after the kickoff, the wall frame and ceiling of the first floor was in place and work had begun on the second floor frame. With all this heavy machinery, tools and large frames being held in the air, the site is potentially dangerous. Given that, it was required that anyone ten feet in front of or on the build site were to wear hard hats. (I didn’t mind, it was really cool, but my dad had enough of it after a few hours and tossed his).

I’ll be returning to the site throughout the week to check on progress and to take pictures. One of the other volunteers kept saying that she was sorry there wasn’t anything fun for me to do. What I tried to explain to her is that I like (LOVE, actually) taking pictures and doing things like this and that there was no need to apologize. What an incredible day.

Back to present day…

It truly was an amazing experience for all of us. Lead builders and their crews volunteering their time, vendors donating materials, restaurant vendors donating meals for the crews, volunteers organizing everything behind the scenes, and so much more.