HURON — Edith Horton’s volunteer work is golden, say the officers of Firelands Habitat for Humanity.
The area chapter for the nonprofit organization awarded Horton, of Norwalk, the Golden Hammer Award at Wednesday night’s annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. It seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a a matter of conscience and action.
The Golden Hammer award recognizes volunteers who display outstanding dedication to construction, deconstruction or ReStore.
Horton is the 12th female volunteer within Firelands Habitat to receive the Golden Hammer Award, executive director Linda Francisco said.
“I never thought there was anything like this coming,” said Horton, a 71-year-old retired registered nurse. “I just came from a family that believed in helping.”
Francisco said Horton is a dedicated and fearless volunteer.
“She’s not afraid to do anything,” Francisco said. “No matter what you ask of her she’s willing to do it. She’s as comfortable working next to the guys as she is working next to the gals.”
In addition to working on homes, Horton also does office work for Habitat, and was instrumental in Norwalk First Presbyterian Church’s adoption of a household for 2008. The congregation will fund the home and a number of congregants will build the home. Construction will begin in the spring.
“I believe there’s a big need for decent housing,” Horton said. She added she worked on building her own home, which made her realize she enjoyed the building process.
Horton said some women may not realize they can engage in that process.
Francisco estimated out of Firelands Habitat’s roughly 300 semi-regular volunteers, about a third are female.
Francisco said the number of female volunteers has increased since the chapter introduced Women Build. The program that encourages women and girls to have fun and make a difference by building homes and communities.
Thousands of houses have been built by women crews around the world — more than 1,000 have taken place since Women Build’s official creation in 1998.
Women Build’s third house is now in the works at Firelands. The first was built in 2005.
According to Habitat for Humanity’s Web site, www.habitat.org, women comprise more than 50 percent of Habitat’s volunteer force. But, they are often a minority on the construction site.
Horton said she thinks some women don’t know they are eligible to help build homes.
“It’s amazing what women will learn to do,” she said.
For more information about Firelands Habitat for Humanity, visit www.firelandshabitat.org or call (877) 374-3487.