IBEW members who work for Alabama Power joined a team of more than 100 volunteers to build a Habitat for Humanity home, a project that was completed in just 10 days.
IBEW members volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Alabama Power to build a new home in just 10 days for a family in need.
"We were thrilled to have the IBEW participate," said Alabama Power Service Organization Magic City President Anna Chandler. "It was a wonderful experience, and we could not have done it without their support."
The home was the 25th for APSO Magic City, which partnered with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham chapter on the build. APSO is the charitable arm of Alabama Power, which employs IBEW members represented by Utility System Council 19.
"I wanted the IBEW out there," said Keith Gilliland, assistant business manager for U-19. "Our folks have a charitable spirit about them and I'm proud of that."
The build, which they typically do every two years, is the first in four years because of the coronavirus pandemic. The home was built in Pleasant Grove, which was hit hard by a tornado in 2011.
"Alabama Power is big on service," Gilliland said. "They're a good employer. They invest in their community."
Families who qualify for a Habitat home are required to repay a no-interest mortgage, complete 300 hours of sweat equity on their house or another home, and complete 20 hours of home ownership education workshops. The homeowner in this case worked alongside the volunteers, who completed the three-bedroom home at the beginning of November.
"As a volunteer, you get to see someone get the opportunity to experience the joys of homeownership. That's a pretty powerful thing," said Gilliland, who used to work as a carpenter before joining the IBEW and who volunteered on the build for the first two days. "You get to know them and their children."
As with most Habitat homes, it was built from the ground up.
"You literally start from a concrete floor, and two weeks later it's a lock-and-key move-in house," Gilliland said. "They even had shrubs outside."
Gilliland noted how labor unions can have a reputation for taking care of their own, so working on projects like this gives members a chance to show their commitment to bettering the community as a whole.
"There's so much more to us than that," he said. "We jump at the opportunity to put ourselves out there in the community. It lets folks know we do good things, that we care and can be of service."
Doing projects like these can also serve as a reminder that not everybody is as fortunate as the average IBEW member.
"We're in a good trade. We have good jobs with good wages and benefits," Gilliland said. "We understand that not everyone is in that situation."
Gilliland said he expects the relationship between the IBEW, APSO and Habitat for Humanity to continue with the next build in 2024.
"We're always looking for opportunities to put the IBEW in a positive light," he said.