Each year, more than 13,000 individuals volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County to give back to the community and make a difference. Some of these volunteers walk away with much more than they gave — like a new sweetheart. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, three couples who met at Habitat for Humanity share their love story.
David and Lisa Rochette
It all started with an alternative fall break trip nine years ago. David and Lisa were both officers in the Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter at NC State. Lisa was coordinating a trip to Oak Ridge, Tennessee and had a driver drop out at the last minute. She was able to convince David to drive. Out of guilt, Lisa stayed up with David during the six-hour drive, while other chapter members fell asleep in the back of the car. The two spent the time having random conversations and getting to know each other. “After that trip, I purposefully tried to accidentally run into her on campus,” says David.
David and Lisa’s relationship blossomed and by the time they traveled to Ocala, Florida for a Habitat for Humanity spring break trip, they were dating. The two believe in making memories. The following summer, David and Lisa traveled to Guatemala for a global village trip. Five years later, their wedding was an experience filled with their love for NC State and Habitat for Humanity. Their cake was topped with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf and they gave a donation to Habitat Wake as wedding favors for guests.
“The reason people can meet their life partner at Habitat is because they are there because they want to be,” says Lisa. “Habitat people are good people,” adds David.
John and Jackie Scales
When asked to describe each other using one word, both John and Jackie smiled and said “sweet.” The couple first met 10 years ago at a Habitat for Humanity of Durham County donor appreciation event. At the time, John worked as Habitat Durham’s development operations manager; Jackie was a community volunteer. The two introduced themselves to each other, but parted ways quickly. “She wasn’t very nice to me,” laughed John.
Months later, Jackie volunteered again at a fundraising event. Jackie was paired with John at a registration table and the two had hours to talk. They bonded over their love for nature and sports. After exchanging numbers, John and Jackie met up for a walk at Umstead State Park, and the rest is history.
John and Jackie have been married for three years and have two cats — Annie and Oakley. The couple enjoys visiting the beach, and watching British TV shows and college football. John still works with Habitat Wake as grants manager.
Bill and Cathy Rose
Twelve years ago, Cathy stepped on a Habitat Wake construction site for the first time ever. Bill was a construction superintendent volunteer. In his role, he trains volunteers to help them gain new skills and feel comfortable on the job site. He spent time with Cathy and taught her the proper way to complete the day’s work. As he does with all volunteers, at the end of the day, Bill asked Cathy to sign up and come back to the construction site again; Cathy said yes. After weeks of volunteering, Cathy asked Bill to join her at a Durham Bulls game. The two dated for three years before tying the knot in April 2008.
“Bill is a very romantic guy,” says Cathy. “I admire his enthusiasm and dedication.”
Bill continues to serve as a regular volunteer, and has spent most Saturdays with Habitat Wake for 21 years. Cathy still volunteers occasionally, and now specializes in metalwork. Service is very important to this couple. In addition to their commitment to Habitat Wake, Bill and Cathy have trained athletes for the winter Special Olympics for 16 years; Bill teaches snowboarding, Cathy teaches skiing. Also, they’re both actively involved with Meals on Wheels.