Forty hours a week, take your lunch whenever, your own boss, lots of time outdoors in fresh air.
Not bad, really . . . except there's the "rest of the story."
"No hospital insurance, no medical, no paid vacation, no retirement plan, no matching 401K.
For a very good reason, too . . .
"No paycheck, not weekly, not semi-weekly, not monthly, not one, period."
You gotta be crazy, huh?
Meet Ronald Hindman, who grew up in Nebraska under the firm hand of a carpenter father, but managed to see a big chunk of the USof A as executive with IBM. Then, somewhere along the way, got this gosh-awful itch to help those who need help.
Also on his resume is . . .
Ronald Hindman, executive director of Calhoun County Habitat for Humanity, a blue-ribbon, non-profit organization that has put lower-income families into homes of their own, like 135 houses since 1994.
That's the scratch for the itch.
Let Hindman tell the story of the affliction and the cure.
"The problem I had was driving by homes in west Anniston. I knew people were living in extremely poor conditions so I decided I needed to do something about it. It seemed Habitat was the best choice for me."
And Hindman, hammer in hand, lined up with others of the same leanings back in 1994 when the local Habitat built its first home.
"My dad was a carpenter and I helped him a little bit when I was growing up so I had some carpenter skills and I had the time. That was in 1994 and it took us probably eight months to build it . . . just volunteers working on the weekends."
Hindman estimates he has put a good amount of physical labor into at least 90 of the 135 homes local Habitat has build since that first one back in '94.
That house, on Brown Avenue, is still there, but the original owner married, moved on, and returned it to Habitat.
The stories behind each house go beyond four walls and a roof that doesn't leak. From October of '08, there is this Hindman memory . . .
"The family lived in West Anniston — I don't even like to say that — and the kids were afraid to even go to the grocery store just two blocks away. When they qualified, met our requirements, the parents were there every weekend working on the house. Now they're in a home that's their own . . . they really enjoy it . . . little things . . . the kids have a yard they can play in, have their own rooms."
One more . . .
"A couple had gotten together and between the two of them, they had six kids and were living in a two-room trailer. It was unbelievable. We built a five bedroom — the only one Calhoun County Habitat has built — and their lives changed dramatically. That was nine years ago and they're still in the home. The two older girls are now in college at Jacksonville State."
Hindman became executive director in June of '07. While he serves as the "boss," it is also true that he still puts his labor into whatever project is underway. The man wears a number of hats . . .
"I still work up a sweat on occasion and it all depends on what's needed. I can do anything from framing to laying tile, to putting down sub-flooring to cutting in steps."
But there are other hats to be worn.
As executive director he's a construction superintendent, fund raiser, public speaker . . . and the list goes on, especially in the hunt for funds.
"We've just completed two houses and have one going now. We plan to start another one shortly, but right now we're not getting enough money to build more houses . . . we have enough personnel and expertise to build a dozen or so houses a year, but we just don't have the money."
Oh, that "no paycheck" deal?
For Ron Hindman, that's not exactly the truth . . .
"This is the most rewarding . . . I'm on hand for every dedication and when you look at somebody who holds the key and opens the door of their new home for the first time, it gets very emotional, very moving."
In going away, a final note.
A few days back, buried at the bottom of our community page, there was a thumb-nail photo of Hindman and a short brief on being named "Volunteer of The Year" by the Alabama Association of Habitat Affiliates.
That's a really nice "atta-boy," but a not near as precious as the " . . . it gets very emotional, very moving."
You can't put that on a wall, but . . .
Thanks for visiting this morning.