“Helping people is something that we have done our whole lives,” says Charlie, who worked 31 years as an elementary school PE teacher.
Marj, a registered nurse, agrees. “Both Charlie and I can volunteer with Habitat,” she added. “It’s something we can do together.”
Charlie and Marj Wippermann first got involved with Habitat for Humanity years ago, chaperoning a youth group from their church in Missouri to work on a build in Alamosa, Colorado. When they moved from their home state to Tucson, they reconnected with Habitat right away.
And they’ve served as Habitat Tucson volunteers for a staggering 22 years!
To this day, they work on building projects together, caulking, painting, and installing doors and cabinets. It gives them a great sense of satisfaction to put the finishing touches on a Habitat home. “Habitat gives people an opportunity for some stability in their life,” says Charlie. “They don’t have to worry so much about day-to-day, how their life is going to be.”
But they’ve also built incredible friendships along the way.
One of the first friends they made on the build site was a future homeowner, and they remember seeing the ribbon cutting at her home dedication. After the celebration, Marj and Charlie helped the family move out of their current place. “It was like a barn – like a horse stall,” Marj remembers. And seeing the difference a new home made for this family inspired them to do more than volunteer. They wanted to leave a legacy for Habitat families to come.
Charlie says, “Instead of having to rent a run-down one bedroom apartment with three children in it, the homeowners could now have a new place to live with ample space and a nice community. That’s what we’d like to have happen. And it will.”
That’s what made them want to become legacy donors. They wanted to leave a lasting gift to Habitat in their will.
“You really see it,” Marj said. “At Habitat, you’re feeling your money goes to build this house.”
And that’s a gift that lasts many lifetimes.