The team of nurses at New Hanover Regional Center will break ground on a Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity Home on February 15.
It will be a home built on the foundation of compassion and dedication that the nurses bring to their jobs across NHRMC’s facilities. The nurses also used $50,000 from their annual Celebrate the Gold gala to fund the home.
This house will be the tenth built by NHRMC in collaboration with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, but it is different in several ways. First, the work will be spearheaded by teams of nurses, who will trade in their stethoscopes for hammers, screwdrivers and paintbrushes. Secondly, this house will be dedicated to a community member; the first nine NHRMC Habitat Homes were dedicated to NHRMC employees who had completed the “sweat equity” required by Habitat for Humanity.
Jessi Nowak, former chair of NHRMC’s Nursing Congress, was inspired to build a Habitat Home after she saw the effects of housing insecurity on friends and co-workers after Hurricane Florence. Nearly every NHRMC employee was directly affected by Hurricane Florence. Some were separated from their families in time of need, others were stranded and unable to return to their homes, and others’ homes were destroyed.
The feeling of helping someone in need resonates deeply with nurses, and they were among the leaders of NHRMC’s recovery efforts – donating water and cleaning supplies, giving to the NHRMC Foundation, and wading into flood-damaged homes to help co-workers salvage precious family keepsakes.
“After the hurricane all of us felt very insecure,” Nowak said. “We could have lost our homes. There are people out there who don’t even have a home who were hit really hard. This is something we could do for someone else.”
Healthy, safe housing has been linked to healthier, longer lives, and that message correlates to NHRMC’s mission of Leading Our Community to Outstanding Health.
“Providing a safe place to live for one person or one family is one more step toward achieving our overall mission,” said Mary Ellen Bonczek, NHRMC’s Chief Nurse Executive. “We want the future owners to be able to look forward to walking into a secure, comfortable home every day.”
As team members learn carpentry skills and donate their weekend, they are learning the value of team-building and feeling a pride of accomplishment.
“Nurses from across the NHRMC system will be working together to complete this project,” said Ruth Marescalco, who succeeded Nowak as chair of Nursing Congress. “We're excited to see the weekly progress and are looking forward to working alongside our teammates to create a tangible reminder of what we can accomplish in our community."
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Pictured from NHRMC: Chief Nurse Executive Mary Ellen Bonczek; VP/Associate Chief Nurse Executive Amy Akers; Nurse Sherry Murvin; Chair of Nursing Congress Ruth Marescalco; Vice-Chair of Nursing Congress Meagan Jones.
NHRMC's 9th Habitat Build