JULY 2, 2020 Update: It is with a heavy heart we share that Patrick Hamm, longtime volunteer, has passed away. His big personality and even bigger heart were an essential presence among our staff, volunteers, and homeowners – and will be greatly missed. To honor his lasting impact, we've created the Patrick Hamm Memorial Fund to serve families in Patrick's memory for years to come.
Remembering Patrick Hamm
What’s special about Habitat is not only our vision to build a world where everyone has a decent place to call home, but also the community of people who make it happen. It’s people like Patrick Hamm, a regular volunteer who dedicated over 6,800 hours and helped on over 14 Habitat developments to give families a space to grow individually, together, and within their communities.
When on the construction site, Patrick has a way to make everyone feel comfortable and every job a volunteer does valuable. Erin Spaulding, our Director of Marketing and Communications, has known Patrick since 2009, and she says, “Patrick is a real catalyst for the volunteers; everyone loves him. He would really inspire volunteers about what we were doing, and why it mattered. You’d often hear the volunteers say, ‘We love Habitat, but we come back for Patrick.’”
It doesn’t surprise people that before Patrick was a regular volunteer, he was a Project Manager, leading volunteers every day on a number of construction sites. After he retired, Patrick decided to come back and spend his free time continuing to do what he loves: build homes, community, and hope.
Patrick believes a Habitat home is not just any home. Rather, it is a place that brings dreams to life, and with a lifetime of memories built right into it – to look at the floor panels, window seals, fresh paint, and all the cabinetry is to recall a story about the volunteers and community members who helped put it all together. That is what Patrick valued. Barbara and Don Snyder jokingly remember Patrick saying, “What you just did would be fine if this were only a million dollar house. But it isn't. It is a Habitat for Humanity home. Undo what you just did and redo it correctly, remembering this is for a Habitat for Humanity family!”
But it’s not only Habitat staff and fellow volunteers who say Patrick is a one of a kind regular volunteer. When on the construction site, Patrick puts so much time and effort into the work that needs to be done – and done well – to make each house a home for future Habitat homeowners. That’s why the 12-home development on Gianera Street in Santa Clara is dedicated to Patrick, for the hard work and hours he’s put in to make it the welcoming community it has flourished into today. Lourdes, a Habitat homeowner in this neighborhood, tells us, “He was in charge, and he was very serious about that, so he was a tough guy, but we knew that he was doing really, really hard work for us. We really appreciated that.” It was an easy decision to dedicate the Gianera Street development to Patrick, Lourdes says. “That was the best part of the building for us, was Patrick being in charge. There was so much laughing.”
Patrick’s impact is in the walls of every house he’s helped build, in the memories of each family he has gotten to know, and in the stories volunteers continue to tell. We’re grateful to Patrick for an incredible legacy of volunteerism, and determined to keep building it forward.