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It Really Does Take a Village

Gail O’Rourke
Principal, White Wood Kitchens

O’Rourke, who volunteered for the first Blitz Build in 2013 and served as committee chair for the second in 2015 and as project manager in 2017 and 2019, is a welcome sight for many who have become part of the Blitz. Always armed with a smile, an undeterrable attitude, and a contact list full of people willing to cash her favors, O’Rourke easily represents the heart of the project, even going as far as donating a kitchen from her own company.  She says the housing situation on the Cape affects her as well as her company very personally, “Most of my staff live and work on the Cape, but most of them can’t afford to buy a home here. They are building people’s dreams, but their own is out of reach.” O’Rourke recognizes the far-reaching impact of creating communities for the local work force when she says, “Building homes for Habitat is a direct extension of the service we, as trade professionals, already do on the Cape; we are perpetuating pride of home ownership.” The collaborative atmosphere of the project, that replaces an otherwise competitive vibe continually amazes O’Rourke. “I think one of the most exciting parts about the build is having all of these competitors all in one place, working side-by-side. The person in charge of plastering might need to bring in five other plasterers from companies other than his own just to get the job done. It’s a very small community and we are ordinarily a very competitive industry, but for one week, everyone works together.”

Josh Jalbert
Outside Sales, Shepley Wood Products

Jalbert has been involved with three Blitz Builds, but this was his  first time serving as a committee member. “Habitat is a great partner of Shepley’s, and we help them out with all of the homes they build, but the Blitz Build is definitely different,” Jalbert says. Jalbert, a native Cape Codder and second-generation member of the Cape building industry, is also a Habitat board member and personally understands the challenges for first-time homeowners on the Cape. “Having grown up on the Cape and then returning after college, I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay and raise a family here,” he says. “My wife and I lived with my parents for a few years in order to save, and ultimately, we were lucky enough to find a home we could afford. But, we recognize that we are very lucky.” Jalbert also notes the invaluable contribution Shepley’s valued partners are able to make to the Blitz due to their business history.

Crystal Pieschel
Marketing Director, Mid-Cape Home Centers

Tasked with coordinating the social media for the Blitz Build, Pieschel says that her efforts spawned unexpected benefits for the project. “Our social media started out as a way to bring awareness to the generous sponsors and thank them for their participation leading up to the Blitz,” Pieschel explains. “During Blitz week, we were able to post videos to show the rapid transformation, but we also found the immediate power of social media could solve problems we encountered. For example, a call-out for help or a product would be fulfilled very quickly.” Mid-Cape Home Centers was also unique in that they didn’t leverage support from their vendor partners, instead, Mid-Cape themselves made a sizable donation including the lumber needs for the project, delivery of unwieldy items and of course, the labor donation from people like Pieschel and Committee Chair Linda Miner.

Randy Florence
Outside Sales, Pella Windows and Doors

This was Florence’s first experience with Blitz as he served on the committee. His position at Pella Windows provides a strong relationship with builders across the Cape, so he was tasked with coordinating the donated labor for the intensive week of building. “It was great that my company  allowed me to dedicate the time and energy to the committee. The builders were amazing to donate the time of their employees,” he says.  Florence, also reflects that the collaboration is a completely unexpected benefit. “I was amazed at how everyone involved was wholly committed to this project,” he says. “We were all working toward the same end for this one goal. It was pretty amazing.”

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