Friday, June 19, 2009

Meet the Team!

This space is for the biographies and pictures of each team member. These will be posted as they are received. Enjoy meeting each other!!

Members: Bob Bell, Leslie Bell, Jessica Burns, Britt Cosgrove, Ricky Crawford, Stan Duda, Weezie Duda, Erica Duke, Natalie Hawwa, Kathy King, Patty North, Jessical Pilarczyk, Marshall Royer, Vicky Royer, Robbie Serwetz, Skye Sturm, William Svoboda, Suzanne Weinert, Jim White, and Martha Shortlidge White.

Stan Duda – I live in Vermont with my wife Weezie and have two grown children, Matt and Alyssa who both live in the Baltimore/Washington D.C area. We are still trying to understand how two children raised in a rural town in Vermont consisting of 800 people have adapted so well to the big city life. Either we have two secure and independent children or they are tired of hanging out with us. We recently moved back to Vermont after having to relocate for employment for 3 years in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
I have spent the past 35 years involved in the construction business and used that knowledge when Weezie and I did a Habitat trip in El Salvador and later in Honduras. My most recent Habitat trip was this May on a test build to Chiang Mai, Thailand as prep for the Carter Hope project. This was my first time in this part of the world and my first build with team leaders Ma and Pa Bell. I enjoyed the country and my time with Bob and Leslie so much that my wife and I decided to join the upcoming build to Cambodia. I am looking forward to connecting with some of the test build team who will be on this trip also.
For those of you who have not been on a team with Bob and Leslie, a few tips I picked up along the way are to give any leftover food to Bob and feed Leslie plenty of ice cream. I have been a fire chief, zoning administrator, youth group leader, college trustee, father, and super husband. I enjoy music, mountain and road biking, racquetball, a good beer, seeing the Red Sox win, laughing with friends and most recently cooking Thai meals learned most recently while in Thailand.

Louise (Weezie) Duda – Though born a Jersey girl, I’ve lived in Vermont since 1969, most of that with my husband Stan and our family on a small horse farm in Shrewsbury, Vermont. Now partially retired after teaching middle school for 26 years, I am passionate ( Stan would say fanatic) about teaching riding and training horses, and feel fortunate that I have been able to follow my dream to do so. Although I enjoyed a few years relocation to the White Mountains in nearby New Hampshire, I am happy to be home in Vermont again. I never could feel comfortable with “Live Free or Die” on my NH license plate and love waking up to Vermont Public Radio again!
This will be my fifth Habitat trip after fantastic trips to Florida, El Salvador, Honduras, and Brazil. My very first team leader was none other than Bob Bell in 2003, so I guess I’d have to admit he was partially responsible spreading the addictive “habititis “to me. I have really enjoyed getting the chance to immerse myself in other cultures, working with local communities to build their homes, and see the world without feeling so much like a “tourista”. When not riding or traveling with Habitat, this empty nester enjoys the outdoors – be it shoveling waist deep snow like this morning so I can shove that wheelbarrow to the manure pile, or gardening and enjoying the hiking or cross country skiing that is right out our door. I enjoy hanging out informally with friends – thus the photo of me at our Cambodian dinner fundraiser – fashionably dressed with apron from cooking, and boots and jacket from running around outside lighting sky lanterns from Stan’s Thailand trip for everyone. After retiring from teaching, I have taken on several different part time jobs – several related to horses of course, but 2 years with Americorps doing PR projects with Neighborworks of Western Vermont and presently leading activity programs in a nursing home. I am apprehensive about having to sit still on this long flight to Cambodia, but look forward to breaking my stereotypes about Asia!

Marshall & Vicky Royer: Don't know that we will be the oldest team members, but suffice it to say, we do have a "few" more years of experience than a lot of you! We have participated in 4 Global Village builds previously, 3 in Alaska and 1 in New Zealand. This however, will be our first experience in a non-English speaking country. We are parents to a boy and girl, all grown up now, and we have a 5 year old granddaughter. Marshall is semi-retired and Vicky still works in the office in our business, a machine shop. In our spare time Marshall enjoys fishing, hunting, and wood carving. Vicky enjoys reading, counted cross stitch and puzzles. And, of course, we both love spending time with our granddaughter Dylan. We are very excited about about this new adventure and look forward to meeting all of you.

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Pilarczyk and although my hometown is Toronto, Canada, I rarely spend much time there. I am finishing up the last year and a half of my doctorate degree in earth sciences. Most of my research involves tsunami prediction, which gives me the opportunity to travel to many beautiful coastlines around the world including Central and South America, and the Arabian Peninsula. Although my one and only hobby right now is finishing up my dissertation, normally (i.e. when I’m leading a more balanced life!), I like to be outside as much as possible; hiking, SCUBA diving, camping, traveling, etc. This will be my first Habitat for Humanity experience and I am so excited to meet and build with all of you!

Hi Team!My name is Natalie Hawwa, and I was raised in Gates Mills, Ohio and currently live in Manhattan. I have spent the past 4 years working as a photo editor for Self Magazine, but am getting ready to move to Beirut, Lebanon to pursue a graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic. My hobbies include reading, running and dancing, hanging out with my friends and family and baking! I am beyond excited for Habitat trip, especially because I will be sharing the experience with my best friend of 22 years, Britt Cosgrove. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and bonding over our build!!

Kathy King - I am a retired High School history teacher who survived 32+ years of teaching in the Seattle area where I was born and raised. I love the Northwest and enjoy most of the outdoor activities here: hiking, camping, sailing, kayaking, biking, birding, etc. But I also love 'to travel, having taken student groups on 16 trips, mostly to Europe, then continuing personal travel to fascinating places aaround the world. Over the past 8 years I continually gravitated to New Zealand where I now spend most of my winters. That's where I first discovered the Global Village program and afterwards convinced my friend Patty to join me on a build in Bangalore, India. She then signed us up for another build in Katete, Zambia...definitely cases of "Habititus" ensued. I look forward to my first visit to Cambodia and embarking on another wonderful and challenging cultural adventure with all of you.The photo is at a cooking class in Udaipur, India....making chapatis.

Hello everyone! I'm Skye Sturm and I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. I graduated from the University of Colorado -Boulder with an Architecture degree in May, and moved back to Fairbanks for a job and an adventure. I love the winter here and am excited to experience it in my tiny backwoods cabin with no running water. When I am not busy with my job, I love to design and build furniture that works in a tiny space like mine. My other interests include exploring Alaska (and the world!), historic preservation, hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, cycling, dancing, reading, and learning about cultures and languages. I love doing things with my hands and especially love being outside while working hard, so I can't wait for our Cambodian experience. I've known Bob and Leslie since I was very young and I am definitely looking forward to seeing them again and to meeting everyone on the team!

Hi all – I’m Britt Cosgrove. I was born and raised in Hunting Valley, OH (a suburb of Cleveland), went to college in Vermont and now live in Manhattan. I previously worked in fashion PR and after four years decided to go back to school for fashion design. This build is my graduation present upon my completion of school in December. I went on my first Habitat build last summer to Malawi. This trip I will be traveling with my best friend of 22 years, Natalie Hawwa. I can’t wait to get dirty in Cambodia building a home and exploring the country!

Hello! My name is Jessica Burns, a Colorado native and recent Habitat enthusiast. Just over a year ago I went with Leslie and Bob through Habitat to Mozambique...what can I say, now I'm hooked! In terms of trying to sum myself in a paragraph, it goes. Since graduating with a mostly useless but highly informative and interesting in Zoology in 2008, I went back to school a second time to obtain my certification as an EMT - a profession that requires nothing more than a high school education and results in a pronounced pay cut. But what can I say is that I feel more on course than I have in ages. Hypothetically speaking, should the seas part on my command, and pigs grow wings to fly; I will be granted access into a doctorate program in medicine and one day will become a doctor. In the mean time, I spend most of my time working on an ambulance during the week, teaching emergency medicine during the evenings, working at an emergency animal hospital on the weekends and providing pet sitting services on the side. What remaining time I'm afforded is spent with with my beautiful Husky Hailey and my fantastically supportive and tolerant boyfriend Luke. This is what occasionally fills the rest of my life: bowling, roommates, hiking, dog parks, sunsets, running, snowboarding, classical piano, climbing, camping, traveling, friends, concerts, expensive ethnic dinners, movies, and bbqing. So, that pretty much sums me up in a nut least for right now. I absolutely cannot wait to see Bob and Leslie again in a new and exciting place, and to meet everyone else on board!

I'm Patty North, and I live in Seattle Washington. For 30+ years I taught in a high school alternative program that served a very diverse population. Never a dull moment! Now I'm retired for the second time. (The first try didn't take.) Married, no kids, one dog that needs therapy. Interests include bicycling, hiking, bird-watching, traveling, sports, reading and volunteering. I'm a veteran of two previous Global Village trips; to India in November, 08 and Zambia in May, 09. I love the cultural immersion, teamwork and hands-on nature of these Global Village builds, so I'm definitely a candidate for "habititis."

Bob and Leslie - pictured in 2008 in Cambodia on a personal trip. It was on that trip was we decided we needed to bring a GV team to this beautiful country.
We currently live in Oregon, after returning from 2+ years assigned in Asia Pacific for Habitat for Humanity, developing the GV program in 14 countries. Prior to that we volunteered at HFHI in Georgia in the GV department. Before being infected with Habititis, we lived for 30 some years in the most beautiful place in the world, Alaska. We taught school in Homer - Bob in a Russian Old Believer village, and Leslie in 8th grade at the Middle School in town. Very opposite experiences that were unique to compare when we got home at night. Our three sons spent most of their school years in Homer. Prior to Homer we lived in Fairbanks for 13 years. Bob is originally from Michigan, Leslie from Florida. Both of us left our families and home states when we were about 18 for Fairbanks, Alaska, although we didn't meet each other there for 10 years!! Two sons, Lars & Anders, and one daughter-in-law, Leslie, and our new granddaughter, Iris Peace, all live within a block of us, which is a blessing. Middle son, Matt, and wife, Nicole, live on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is a great place to visit! We have a great passion for Habitat, especially the Global Village mission. We look forward to meeting new people, renewing old friendships, learning and sharing about a new culture, and working side-by-side with people that have amazing stories and life lessons to teach us all. We look forward to working with each of you!

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