“For me, Durham Habitat, is about helping families feel better about themselves and shedding light upon their darkness."
Vermont native Gregory Jackson has been volunteering since 1966 when he was a member of Ski Patrol at Jay Peak Resort. After graduating from Norwich University and working in the healthcare field for a number of years, Greg relocated to Durham, NC and started volunteering with Durham Habitat for Humanity.
“Essentially I build houses from the foundation through trim,” says Greg. “Most of our recipients are single moms with multiple children. Decent affordable housing promotes pride and the desire to succeed, and provides a positive example and hope for the children helping to avoid gangs and drugs.”
Durham Habitat for Humanity builds between 20 and 30 homes per year for employed but low-income families living in substandard housing. The families purchase the home, but rather than making a traditional down payment, the families participate in the build (a minimum of 250 hours). The homes are certified green and most of the time, their payments are less than their previous rents. Habitat also acts as the lender, so payments go back to Habitat and are used to build more homes.
In addition to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Greg volunteered 12 years as a Cub Scout Master, coached baseball and soccer youth programs and has spent time with the North Carolina Baptist Men, clearing trees and rebuilding homes after tornadoes devastated parts of Raleigh and Colerain. He even spent time rebuilding homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
“I fell off a Habitat roof and broke my back in July 2009, but was able to go to New Orleans in October to work for a couple weeks rebuilding homes after Katrina,” says Greg. “My inspiration was and still is quite selfish. I like to do things that make me happy. Some people seem to think volunteering should be a selfless act, but I feel you cannot stick with a project or do justice to it if you do not get personal satisfaction from doing it.”
In 2018, Greg received the Points of Light Presidential Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award.
When Greg isn’t volunteering, he enjoys golfing, fishing, hiking, traveling and spending time with his grandchildren. Greg’s wife Carolyn will join him on the cruise.