Brothers Steve and Don Schuiteboer and brother-in-law Dave Kuitert are three men on a mission, literally. Since 1989 when they traveled to South Carolina to help in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, their lives have been focused on helping others. They’ve traveled to the Gulf Coast and the Carolinas numerous times on disaster relief trips coordinated by UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee of Relief. Their next trip is scheduled for spring 2018. It’s something they feel called to do.

“God has given us talents and gifts and we have to use them,” Don said.

“We need to take those gifts and show the love God’s given us,” Dave said. “We go where we are called. For a while I tried to keep count of the trips we’ve been on but I stopped keeping score. It’s not about the number, it’s about the work we do.”

Don, Steve, and Dave heard Habitat’s call about a year ago and started volunteering regularly locally too. The trio, dubbed “The Plainwell Guys” by Habitat’s construction staff, volunteer several days a week, mostly on home repairs.

“Dave, Steve, and Don have been an essential part of Habitat’s home repair program. They have worked tirelessly alongside Habitat staff and other volunteers to tackle complicated repairs to make homes better for families,” said Director of Construction Operations Tom Tishler. “They’ve been willing to go into any project, no matter how difficult or dirty, to do the job and do it well. Their compassion for the homeowners Habitat helps is inspiring.”

“Volunteering with Habitat and helping with these repairs is so rewarding,” Steve said. “The homeowners we work with are so grateful. Habitat really helps.”

Don likes the variety of tasks the repairs present and feels that working several days a week provides continuity. Don also volunteers with Allegan Senior Services and coordinates volunteers for repair projects.

“I learn something every day with Habitat that I can apply on mission trips or on another repair project,” Don said.

“Every repair we’ve done is special because we really get to know the families,” Dave said. “In one home, we installed a light in a closet. The homeowner was so excited, she stood there and turned it on and off, celebrating every time. Such a little thing and to her it was just like Christmas.”

To learn more about Habitat volunteer opportunities, contact Director of ReStore Operations and Volunteer Services Michaelyn Denny, 269-344-2443, ext. 204 or mdenny@habitatkalamazoo.org.

For information on Habitat’s home repair program, contact Director of Homeowner Services Sylvia Denning, 269-344-2443, ext. 211 or sdenning@habitatkalamazoo.org.