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Why building homes lured Joe Painter

April 16, 2009 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 15, 2009 at 11:16 p.m.

Who is Joe Painter?

A 42-year DuPont engineer who retired in 1996.

Created databases and spreadsheets to organize the nonprofit in its infancy.

Helped to build 11 homes in 1997.

Served as the group's president from 1998 to 2001.

Retired from the nonprofit in 2003.

"The thing I really enjoyed the most is the people I worked with - not only the volunteers but also getting to know the families. That is very, very rewarding," Painter said.

Why was he awarded?

"Myra Starkey use to say before Joe came we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants," said Cynthia Staley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. "When Joe came, he was policy and procedure oriented. He kind of got us on the right path."

History of Habitat in Victoria:

Began January 1994.

Since, built 70 homes.

Today, accommodates 171 Children and 102 adults.

Habitat facts

Half of households are single-parent families.

The wage earner earns $12/hour or less.

Homeowners maintain foreclosure rate of less than 2 percent.

Average home payment is $340 a month.

Average cost of houses is $60,000 in the U.S.

Typical home is three-bedrooms, 1,100 square feet.

About 40 gallons of paint are used per house.

How are families chosen?


Undergo credit check, strict application and review process.

Supply three months of pay stubs, credit-to-debt ratio.

Interview with the Family Selection Committee.

Required to volunteer 300 hours of sweat equity.

If chosen, candidates receive:

The home.

30-year interest-free mortgage.

Financial budgeting and home maintenance training.

How to volunteer

Call 361-573-2511.

No experience necessary.

Construction schedule posted at

Habitat for Humanity Victoria named Joe Painter the 2009 Charlie Jones Lifetime Achievement Award recipient on Thursday night.

The 76-year-old began volunteering for the nonprofit in 1997. During his eight-year stint, he has helped to build 45 homes.

He retired from the humanitarian program in 2003, but appreciation for his work lives today.



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