Habitat Humanitarian Targets All 50 States in One Year
Cruising across the country and burning calories while volunteering to build homes is not an ordinary achievement.
Darrell Gilmore is attaining this achievement by pursuing his personal mission to volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in all 50 states by the end of 2017, and is enjoying a healthier lifestyle while doing it.
Gilmore, who is originally from Bloomington, IN, dubbed Cleveland, Ohio his 27th stop on his 50-state Habitat tour. While in the Buckeye state, he volunteered for three days on one of Cleveland Habitat’s build sites. He began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity over 30 years ago and previously volunteered about one to 10 days per year before retirement. Now, while on his quest he averages about 25 hours per week. He said that the significance of his journey is to bring awareness to Habitat and to promote how volunteers receive gratification from working with Habitat.
“It’s about what Habitat is accomplishing and what Habitat can do. Not just for the future homeowner but for the volunteers.”
Starting in Lexington, Kentucky on Jan. 3, 2017, Gilmore has already traveled through the entire east coast. Gilmore is fully organizing and mapping his trip single-handedly. He says he contacts a Habitat affiliate two months in advance to make arrangements and is traveling to each state in a camper trailer (with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii). He is also attempting to play golf in each state, visit “unusual tourist attractions” and is collecting Habitat memorabilia along the way. Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Free Stamp sculpture in Willard Park were the two attractions Gilmore chose to explore while in town. Habitat’s mission is what Gilmore says motivates him to persevere on his volunteer voyage.
“I love the mission and what Habitat accomplishes in people’s lives,” said Gilmore. “The main motivation is the mission itself.”
Volunteering has also contributed to his transition into better health. Gilmore, who was snacking on an orange, said that he is eating better, corporate stress is gone and he has adapted a more physically active lifestyle while volunteering. He adds that since retiring last year from his 32-year-long career with Cargill, he has increased his volunteer hours and dropped 60 pounds in one year.
“I’m meeting people, I’m losing weight, my stress is down, my blood pressure is down,” Gilmore said. “I’m getting healthy while I’m doing good work.”
Gilmore has been capturing his big adventure on social media. You can learn more about him and follow his journey on Twitter, at @HFHNomad.