For five area men, September 12 is a day that can't come soon enough. That's when a competition that started July 1 will come to an end and one will be crowned Mr. Habitat 2017.
For the last two months, Steve Anderson, Matt Hilligas, Mitch Maire, Tyson McLamb and C.J. Stec, who all represent areas of health care, have been raising money for Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity. From dunk tanks to dine out events, various methods of fund raising have been employed, along with online donations being received through www.gihabitat.org.mrhabitat.
Although all are vying for the crown, the main reason for their efforts is to help Habitat for Humanity's mission of providing affordable housing opportunities.
"There are lots of ways that you can volunteer or give back to a community. Giving a family an opportunity to own a home is something that will continue to help them, potentially for the rest of their lives. Not many other organizations can say that," said C.J. Stec.
Stec, and the other contestants, have enlisted help from several area restaurants and businesses who have set aside proceeds to support the candidates. Fourteen events which have taken place or been planned involve food.
Speaking of the restaurants, Mitch Maire, who has organized four dine out events said, "They have been so good to work with."
Maire also held a volleyball tournament. Plus, he and the other candidates are joining forces to plan the Mr. Habitat golf tournament which will take place September 22 at Indianhead. Even though the tournament will be after the crowning of Mr. Habitat, all the contestants agreed they wanted to have it.
"We decided that no matter who raises the most money, the real winner will be Habitat", said Steve Anderson.
Anderson is currently in the lead, followed by Maire, Hilligas, McLamb and Stec. With under two weeks to go, the total raised is just over $14,800, with most of the dine out night proceeds yet to be counted.
Quinn Webb, last year's Mr. Habitat, will be on hand on the 12th to crown the new Mr. Habitat. He will be one of eight former contestants in attendance at the sold out event sponsored by Levander's Automotive.
Speaking of the competitors, Webb said, "Each group hopes to beat the last year's".
With last year's group raising over $30,000, this year's group needs some additional support. Donations can be made through each of the candidates or through the online donation button at gihabitat.org.mrhabitat.
Money raised will help the organization with land acquisition and infrastructure. Habitat is laying the groundwork to develop a piece of property that would accommodate around 20 homes, a large undertaking for the non-profit.
Habitat for Humanity works to build safe, affordable homes through the help of volunteers. Homes are sold at the cost to build and with no interest loans to qualifying applicants, who each contribute 500 hours of sweat equity. The organization is currently working on Homes 92 and 93, with Home 94 set to start September 9.
For more information on the Mr. Habitat competition or Habitat for Humanity, call 308-385-5510 or visit the office at 502 W. 2nd in Grand Island.