Building a better world

Gary Armstrong went on his first Habitat for Humanity build in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch went through Central America.“I wanted to do something to help other people, to give back,” said the retired Waterford District High School teacher. “I wanted to go down to Central America to see if I could help out.”That’s when Armstrong found out about Habitat. He applied, was accepted, and went on his first build.“I guess I got hooked on it because I’ve been doing it ever since.”Armstrong has now been on 25 Habitat for Humanity builds all over the world.“At first I thought I was helping other people out, but I think I’m getting more out of it myself,” said Armstrong.  “I really enjoy doing it, it’s certainly a way to get immersed in another culture.”Armstrong eventually became a trip leader and started looking for other people to go on the builds with him.“It all started way back a number of years ago when Gary came and said he needed some volunteers to go on a trip,” said Jean Montgomery of Simcoe. “I was working and wasn’t able to go, but I thought it’d be a good thing for my husband.”Doug Montgomery, Jean’s husband, went on that trip, and has now done 13 builds. Jean has participated in nine.“It’s been a wonderful way to see different cultures, and really experience first hand how people live,” said Jean.This past February, the trio took part in a build in Honduras. Volunteers must pay their own way as well as donating to the build to cover material costs.Doug is also a team leader, and part of that job is to build a team and interview people that have applied to go on the build.“About a year in advance I apply to lead a trip,” said Doug. “Then I start to round up relatives, friends, acquaintances, and past people that I’ve travelled with.”“They can’t believe that people would come from another country and help them build a house,” said Jean. “They’re very appreciative.”Jean and Doug both share a favourite memory from a program called Bring Our Children Home in Chile.During this program they helped build an addition on a house to make space for a four-year-old girl who was living in a hospital hours away from her family, while she was on dialysis.“We went to visit her at the hospital on one of our days,” said Doug. “I have a granddaughter that was four-years-old at the time, and she was just a sweetheart. She came around and hugged everybody.”“To know that she could go home and be home for Christmas, and get her dialysis at home,” Jean said was her favourite moment.astaylor@postmedia.com read more

The Evening Fix now with added Die Hard

first_img(Photo: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)THINGS WE SHAREDYes, the evenings are getting dark earlier and it’s almost time to wear a coat every day. Boo, cold weather. But never fear: Buzzfeed has 30 foolproof ways to get through this winter. Bombs! Beethoven! Boobs! Bruce Willis! Lots of things requiring exclamation marks! Yes, it can only be one thing – the trailer for the new Die Hard movie (“A Good Day to Die Hard”) has just been released. The plot is unintelligible at this stage but as always, there’s something kind of endearing about the whole thing:(Video: joblomovienetwork/YouTube) Bishops and cardinals attend a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at St Peter’s Square at the Vatican today. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)HERE ARE THE things you need to know as we round off the day in three easy steps.THINGS WE LEARNED#APRIL JONES: Hundreds of people attended a special church service in Machynlleth in Wales this afternoon for missing 5-year-old April Jones. Mark Bridger has been charged with her abduction and murder.#JAMES REILLY: Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton has described James Reilly as a “reforming minister” and said he believes that the Health Minister has satisfactorily explained the criteria for the locations of primary care centres around the country.#PRIVATE SCHOOLS: A junior government minister has said that the State should cut its payments of almost €100 million to private schools around the country. Alan Kelly made the comments on tonight’s edition of RTE One’s The Week in Politics.#RESCUE: Two people were rescued from the Liffey in Dublin city centre this afternoon.#ELECTION: Voters in Venezuela have been going to the polls today as President Hugo Chavez faces his toughest election in his near-14 year rule.#SOLD OUT: Tickets for next year’s Glastonbury festival sold out in a record time of just 1 hour and 40 minutes this morning.#BECAUSE SCIENCE: A US Congressman has said evolution and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell“.THINGS WE LOVEDThe New York Times has this great story about two women who have been living in a New York hotel for 28 years, paying just over $1,000 in rent each month, and sometimes asking their families to help out when things get tough financially.Here are the saddest cartoons of the day. Warning: you may feel sad after reading them.To make you feel better, here’s a photo of an intense-looking dog at a march in Beirut today:last_img read more