A Glimpse into Deconstruction with Long-time Volunteer Tom Weaver
By Kristen Keefer
On and off for over thirty years Tom Weaver has been lending a helping hand at Habitat jobsites in the U.S., Germany, and Poland. Around three and a half years ago Tom retired and just a few months later decided to try on a new hat as a Habitat volunteer. When presented with the opportunity to have the reverse of the building experience – de-installation from homes and places of business – he was intrigued. Tom recalled, “I quickly learned about deconstruction and said ‘that’s for me’!”
For homeowners, businesses, and building owners, Habitat’s Deconstruction program offers an alternative to sending salvageable items to the landfill. It is through the combined efforts of staff, property owners, and volunteers like Tom, that this process is made possible. Benefits serve all parties involved: property owners receive affordable removal of cabinets, fixtures and appliances; residents can buy these usable items at affordable prices at the ReStore; and landfills are relieved from the prospective burden of additional waste.
Knowing that the removed materials are sold at affordable prices at the ReStore, and that proceeds from sales help build affordable housing in Asheville resonates deeply with Tom. Being able to witness this process firsthand, while contributing to its motion is a reward that keeps him coming back. To date, he has volunteered six hundred hours of his time on deconstruction sites.
So, what is it like on a deconstruction site? Generally, Tom’s time is spent removing cabinets and countertops from kitchens and sometimes bathrooms. However, his experience extends to larger deconstruction sites like commercial businesses and hotels. Every deconstruction job is unique, contributing to both the challenge and satisfaction of the task itself. Tom’s message for prospective deconstruction volunteers: “Jump in! Go for it! Some people may get intimidated, but in the end you’re taking things apart, which is always shorter than putting things together.”
Tom’s cool, calm, and collected attitude carries him through obstacles on the deconstruction site. Never fretting when confronted with difficulty, he simply works through the tasks presented to him, adding new experiences to his skill set. Thank you, Tom, for your lengthy service with Habitat for Humanity, the immense knowledge you share on deconstruction sites, and your admirable attitude that is a reminder to us all to embrace our capabilities!