Military members help deconstruct home

Canadian Forces volunteers for Habitat for Humanity

Canadian Forces volunteers including CPO1 Dan Ferguson (centre) gather to deconstruct the home of Rishi Sharma (left) and family.

Crowbars were hefted and sledgehammers swung when Canadian Forces members lent a helping hand deconstructing a home for Habitat for Humanity.

On Jan. 13 a crew consisting of a CF members, homeowners, and Habitat for Humanity employees aided in stripping a Saanich house to the studs. The goal: to recover all salvageable materials so they can be recycled by Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

“We’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity before, so when they called us it was a no brainer,” says CPO1 Derek Ferguson, who headed up the team of CF volunteers. “We’ve helped them at their store before, but we’ve never helped them tear down a house.”

The house, which was already slated for destruction, was set upon by the crew and stripped of all valuable building materials; everything from cabinets and doors to light fixtures and door knobs was torn out and taken away to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

“The homeowner wanted to make sure his house was being dealt with in the most environmentally conscious way,” says CPO1 Ferguson. “He was involved in many steps of the process to ensure that everything that could be done was being done.”

Deconstruction involved plenty of smashing and crushing, something that CPO1 Ferguson and the crew were elated to be a part of.
“It was great fun. It’s not something that you get to do every day,” he says. “The homeowner even came in and helped with some of it. Everyone had a great time.”

At the end of the day, the team filled two moving trucks with salvageable materials.

“The materials that we gathered will be kept out of the landfills and hopefully be used to build or renovate some homes,” says CPO1 Ferguson. “A lot of the time houses are torn down like this and everything goes right to the dump. The truth is the planet just can’t sustain that. It’s important to find other ways.”

CPO1 Ferguson believes it’s important for the CF to engage in activities like this to maintain a healthy relationship with the community.

“Our work is so closely tied to the people of the community,” he says. “We lend a helping hand and it lets them know that we care.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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