Our board of directors is a vital part of the Habitat family. The board is entirely volunteer-driven—so every one of its members brings a unique reason for dedicating their time and energy to Habitat. To celebrate Veterans’ Day, we’re highlighting board member Dave Hopkins, a veteran of the U.S Navy whose passion for working towards the greater good didn’t stop when he left the service.
Dave graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy; he was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer and deployed on tours in Central and South America. He served for six and a half years before returning home to Philadelphia to start a career in homebuilding. Looking back on his experience at the Naval Academy, he sees it as a precursor to his community service today. “I’m fortunate that a lot of people helped me out in my life—taking time and interest in what I’ve done,” he says. “If I can do something to make a positive impact for families, then I feel like I’m just returning the favor.”
But we had to ask—why Habitat? The answer is simple, he says: it’s the people. “You listen to Habitat’s Partner Families, and the amount of hours that they put in to earn their zero-interest home mortgage,” says Dave. “It’s a really compelling reason to volunteer—especially when you see the impact that homeownership has on their children. It provides an opportunity that they deserve.”
Dave’s background in home construction is a natural fit for Habitat Philadelphia’s board of directors, where he contributes his experience to our Project Planning and Construction departments. “My goal is to help them become more efficient—to build more homes with the same amount of money,” he says.
Operating a Navy ship and helping to lead a non-profit organization are admittedly very different. But there are undeniable parallels. “Being in the military has provided perspective,” says Dave. “I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities in our country, and I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifice of military families.” The connections to Habitat run deep. Our affordable housing work offers a pathway out of poverty for hard-working families—a unique opportunity for them to build something better. And over the past two years we’ve provided critical home repairs to 17 military veterans and their families. You might see it as our way of giving a hand up to those who have dedicated so much in service to their country.
And it’s one more reason that Dave continues to give back so much of his time and talent to the community with Habitat Philadelphia—part of a profound life purpose. “The amount of positive things that the U.S. military does in different countries—they do a lot,” he says. “So it’s the same thing when you come home—you try to make a difference. This is where we live. Philly’s our city.”