Meet Ronnie Dunevant
No average volunteer - Ronnie Dunevant is a retired Roxboro businessman who has been active with Person County Habitat since it's inception over 20 years ago. He helped get it started, has led teams on building trips and has worked on every Habitat house built through our affiliate.
Ronnie's part in Founding Person County Habitat
Ronnie first became involved with Habitat in the mid-80' when President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalyn sparked national interest in Habitat by participating in a Habitat work trip to New York City. Ronnie started visiting local affiliates in Durham and Orange County to find out how it was run. At that time Habitat provided interested people with “get started kits” including videos and forms. Ronnie started working to build an affiliate in Roxboro.
After an initial period of inactivity or slow growth things changed when the late Walter Rogers, then chairman of the County board of Commissioners agreed to take over the effort to grow the Person County Habitat if Ronnie would run for County Commissioner . Within the four years that Ronnie served as a County Commissioner Walter Rogers grew our affiliate to the point that they were able tobegin their first house in 1993. Shortly afterwards they had three houses built at Merritt Place.
Team Leading with habitat
Over the years Ronnie has worked on many Habitat houses, not all of them in Roxboro. In 2004, the year four hurricanes passed through, he went on a build in Vero Beach Florida and later that year worked with a team in Taos, New Mexico.
He took a Team Leader Class at Habitat headquarters in Americus, Georgia - and in four days he learned to organize and advertise a Habitat trip and to interview and train a team. Since then he has led many teams to remote builds including Taos (New Mexico), Kauai (Hawaii), Eagle Butte (South Dakota) and Slidell (Louisiana) after Katrina. Last year he spent a week each in Avery (NC) and the West Virginia mountains at Almost Heaven Habitat.
Why he does it
Ronnie says, “There are three reasons why I have made such a strong commitment to Habitat over the years. First, working with my hands is a hobby for me. I enjoy manual labor. I've been involved with enough other community activities, that when it came to Habitat, I chose not to serve on the board, instead working with construction and leading teams. ”
Another reason Ronnie works with habitat is the good feeling that comes when he pours some of his energy into giving hard-working partner families a chance to own a home. “You can see the pride they take in owning their own Habitat home.”
Ronnie also loves Habitat for the comraderie that inevitably comes with working with like-minded people on a build. He likes working shoulder-to-shoulder with “similar hearts.” It is enjoyable.
On one of the Taos builds there were three physicians on his team. They ate sandwiches out of bags, stayed in dorms with primitive bathrooms, and with smiles on their faces and mud up to their elbows, they built adobe homes. The joy is undeniable.
On most builds seventy to eighty per cent of the volunteers are women who don't know much about construction, but after a few days they are swinging hammers like experts. You get to watch people gain confidence in what they can do.
The most recent Habitat project is the Elm Street house here in Roxboro. Though there is still work to be done, it is nearing completion. There are no trips planned at this time but people interested in serving on a local build or participating in a Habitat Building Trip should inquire by phone or email at our main office.