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This is the fifth year McGriff Insurance has supported Habitat for Humanity as part of the BB&T Lighthouse Project. Habitat is always an organization that gets support from the associates because they truly see value in the mission of Habitat and like to be directly involved in helping the community by the hands-on volunteering.

One of the unique aspects of the BB&T Lighthouse Project is the opportunity for participants to roll up their sleeves and put some serious “sweat equity” into the effort. Many associates look forward to the chance to step outside of their offices and lend a helping hand in the communities they live and work in.

In the past five years, McGriff Insurance has helped with landscaping, painting the inside of the home, laying tile, and other more cosmetic tasks.  This year, they took on the task of setting up “safety scaffolding”. They were ready and willing to take on the challenge. The volunteer date came and the associates involved soon found out it was a lot of physical labor and manual work to install the safety scaffolding on this house. However, they found the day and their involvement incredibly rewarding.

Staff member Erin Hughes said, I had the opportunity and privilege to volunteer at the Men’s Build in South St. Pete.  I didn’t know what to expect and was a little nervous but as soon as we gathered as a team and met the team leader, Lupe, I knew I signed up for something special and was excited to start our day.  I was immediately humbled by the volunteers who began their journey on this house in the earlier stages.  Everyone I met was so generous and nice and made us feel welcomed.  There was something that I took away from this experience and can’t wait to return next year.  I wish nothing but happiness for the family that gets to call this house a home. “

The story about the house is heartwarming. The home was for the Moore Family – a single father who has five children. Mark Moore actually became a parent to his five nieces and nephews when he was only 20 years old.  Mark explained, “Gaining custody of my kids turned me into a man quickly.  I could no longer think of just myself, I had others I had to think about and kids who looked up to me.”  The family has moved many times over the past few years as they are a large number and even small apartments are too expensive. “We have to have multiple beds in one room and it’s not at all comfortable.” It was very rewarding for the McGriff staff to hear about this well deserving family as they were there working on the house they will soon live in. The project, the staff involved and the end result for this family sums up the purpose of the lighthouse project – to be involved in positive change.

Several of the volunteers showed interest in attending the dedication ceremony in order to see this Lighthouse Project come full circle. Five staff members went to the Dedication Ceremony on July 27th and we were blown away with the experience. First, it allowed them to see the completed home which they loved. Second, the outpouring of support from the family, friends, Habitat staff and volunteers, and others within the community for this family getting the keys to their new home was incredibly touching. Lastly, it left everyone who attended wanting to do more and become even more involved with Habitat, and not limit it just to the Lighthouse Project involvement.

Nancy Truong, another McGriff Insurance staff member said, “This is my second year volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, it’s such a humbling and rewarding experience for us to be a part of building homes for deserving families. There is so much involved and to see and experience the out pour of support from volunteers and weekly warriors that donates their time and strength is heartwarming.”

The Lighthouse Project funds allocated to Habitat were spent it two ways.  A “welcome home” basket was presented to the family at the dedication ceremony. The company created a basket with household items and a few gift cards.  They wanted to give a “personalized touch” to their involvement. McGriff also provided important funding ($1,000) to purchase landscaping and sod for the home.

McGriff Insurance’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity has been inspiring. Habitat appreciates the amazing support! McGriff will now get more even more involved and support Habitat for years to come.

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