Thomas Fields helps build a better future with Habitat for Humanity
For Thomas Fields, an interim director of surgical services based in Charlotte, NC, being of service to others doesn’t cease when he steps outside of the operating room.
Wanting to find a way to engage with his community as he does with his day job, he was drawn to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, the well-known non-profit that builds affordable housing.
“What I love about this is that the work isn’t fleeting,” Fields, who has been volunteering for six years, says. “A lot of how society helps people is for the moment but doesn’t help them with the next step to a better life. That’s the goal of Habitat, to move from that single moment to something more permanent.”
When Fields is active on projects, he will devote about 25 hours a month to construction work, consisting mostly of reframing and plumbing. When he can’t donate construction time, he and his wife will donate money.
“Either way, it’s a win-win,” Fields says. “I don’t feel as connected when I am just giving money, but it helps sustain the program, which is especially important. When one of my interim jobs ends, I can jump back into the work. The biggest emotional impact for me is when it’s a young family with children seeing their completed home for the first time. It’s incredibly satisfying.”
Becoming a homeowner is considered one of the most significant achievements a person can make. But this milestone has become notoriously difficult in recent years.
“Buying your first home is the hardest part,” Fields says. “Habitat allows people to break the cycle of dependency on other forms of housing and have the ownership that otherwise would not be available to them. It supports that full lifestyle change. I’m happy that I can contribute and offer service for such an amazing initiative.”