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A Marine with Marine Corps Air Station Miramar assists in cleaning off paint from the window installation in El Cajon, Calif., June 27. Marines with Single Marine Program (SMP) and Habitat for Humanity volunteers worked together in order to complete the homes that will be going towards refugee families. (U.S. Photo by Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang

Healing Homes: SMP Marines helps local Habitat for Humanity

8 Jul 2019 | Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

Marines with the Single Marine Program (SMP) teamed up with Habitat for Humanity volunteers Thursday, June 27, to help build homes for refugee families. The Marines, and volunteers, worked on five houses, each tasked with different roles for the homes, such as painting, cutting wood, roof installation, window installation and cleaning up the job sites.

The five homes have been vigorously worked on for weeks by the volunteers of Habitat for Humanity.  The Marines that participated today will be taking part in completing two of those five houses, while also helping to increase the completion of the other three exponentially. 

“I came out to help today because of an opportunity to do something for the community, I wanted to do more than just being on base or going to work,” said Lance Cpl. Arturo Lopez, a Marine with Marine Corps Air Station(MCAS) Miramar. “I believe I’m making a difference. Like the team leader Rick has mentioned, “There’s a lot of us that came today, so therefore the tasks are going to get done faster.” 

Since being founded in 1976 as a nonprofit organization, Habitat for Humanity has been a beacon of hope for many low-income families that require well-built affordable homes. Habitat for Humanity has built and repaired more than 600,000 homes in that time. 

 MCAS Miramar’s SMP has been one of the few routine volunteer groups that supports Habitat for Humanity's project within the surrounding community. 

“Today SMP brought 19 Marines who volunteered to come help build these houses,” said Kaylani Abejar, SMP assistant coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for the Marines to go into their community and be part of something bigger and give back to their community.”

Rick Horton, Construction Superintendent for San Diego Habitat for Humanity, said he values Marines that attend Habitat for Humanity because of their willingness to serve is priceless. 

“The Marines today have been invaluable,” said Horton. “There’s so many tasks that needed to be done and every Marine that came today happily tackled the job.” 

“I’m always so grateful for the presence of military individuals here on site” said Horton. “Not only do we have SMP Marines but retirees and other branches come out to help, and you guys are always hard at work.” 

“Once the houses are complete, Iraqi refugee families from Turkey will be purchasing homes at an affordable price,” said Horton. The goal of Habitat for Humanity is building the community by strengthening families and in term creating hope for those individuals. 

The Marine Corps has always strived to not only improve itself but improve the surrounding community. We take pride in serving the community in any capacity in order to harbor good relations; therefore, when great opportunities such as Habitat for Humanity building homes for the community, we make it our mission to bring Marines and participate in these volunteer opportunities.

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